The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday reserved its judgment on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI's) petition seeking death penalty for Abdul Latif Adam Momin, a convict in the 1999 Kandahar hijack case. The court had heard the petition on a day-to-day basis for 18 days.
Momin had also petitioned the high court seeking suspension of his life sentence and his petition was also being heard along with the CBI's plea by the division bench headed by justice Hemant Gupta.
The CBI had filed the petition in 2008, seeking enhancement of life sentence awarded to Momin, a Mumbai resident, by the Patiala anti-hijacking court on February 5, 2008, to death sentence. Momin is linked with Pakistan-based militant outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.
The IC-814 Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi, with 179 passengers and 11 crew members on board, was hijacked on December 24, 1999, and taken to Kandahar (Afghanistan) by five hijackers (still absconding). The hijackers had negotiated with the Indian government and finally got released dreaded terrorists Masood Azhar Alvi, Syed Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar from Indian jails on December 31, 1999, in exchange for freeing the hostages.
Behind bars for the past 13 years, Momin, along with co-accused Yusuf Nepali and Dalip Bhujail, were awarded life sentence by the Patiala court for providing passports, accommodation, arms and ammunition to the hijackers.