ISLAMABAD: Legal loopholes, weak evidence and irrelevant sections invoked against Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the key planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, led to thebgranting of his bail, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) here said.
ATC judge Judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi, who had granted bail to Lakhvi on December 18, in his written order said that the evidence against 54-year-old accused was based on the statements of the officials of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) which apparently were 'insufficient' to refuse him bail.
The court observed that from the statements of the prosecution witnesses reveal that Lakhvi had been charged on 'hearsay' basis.
"It is also an admitted fact that not a single word has been uttered by Mohammad Mumtaz (witness) against Lakhvi," it said.
The registration of the FIR and the insertion of different sections of the law also benefited Lakhvi. The FIR was registered about three months after the incident.
The order issued for the release of Lakhvi said: "As per the contents of the FIR, the occurrence took place in November 2008 whereas the report was lodged on February 2, 2009."
In the criminal proceedings, the delay in lodging an FIR of an offence always benefits the accused, Dawn Newspaper reported quoting the order.
Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, a former deputy attorney general, told Dawn that though the 'Limitation Act' did not apply in the criminal matters and an FIR against the occurrence of an offence can be registered after several months, the delay in lodging the FIR always favoured the accused person regardless the nature of the crime.
Furthermore, the prosecution inserted an offence against the accused which was non-existence in February 2009 when the FIR was registered against Lakhvi.
The order said an amendment to section 6-B of ATA (Anti Terrorism Act) was incorporated in the FIR against the accused in 2011, which stated that threats and acts of terrorism against a foreign government or population or an international organisation would also fall in the ATA, according to thedaily.
The order said that weak evidence, the registration of the FIR invoking irrelevant sections against the suspect, the 'never-ending' trial and hearsay evidence went in favour of the accused.
Lakhvi was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in February 2009 on the basis of the confessional statement of the lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab and detained at the Adiala Jail. Kasab was subsequently executed in a Mumbai jail on November 21, 2012 after due legal proceedings.
According to the charge-sheet issued on November 25, 2009, Lakhvi was the alleged commander of the outlawed Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) as well as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.
It alleged that Lakhvi received weapon training from different centres and then trained other militants of LeT.
He is also facing the charges of imparting training and giving instructions to the 10 terrorists who carried out the attacks in India's financial capital, leaving 166 people dead.
Even after he was granted bail, Lakhvi remained in jail under Maintenance of Public Order. He has challenged his detention under MPO in the High Court here.