Kerala HC shreds NIA’s shoddy probe into Kozhikode twin blast case

Says team didn’t make enough effort to collect proof, conspiracy also not established
Thadiyantevida Nazeer | File pic
Thadiyantevida Nazeer | File pic

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court picked many holes in the NIA’s probe into the 2006 Kozhikode twin blast case in a major setback for the country’s premier anti-terror agency in the first terror case taken up by it in the state.

Much to its embarrassment, the court said, “The investigators did not make a concerted effort to ‘go out in the sun’ to collect independent evidence of whatever version the accused told them though we do not venture to speculate whether they employed ‘red pepper’ to elicit the disclosures. In their anxiety to wrap up the case, we say ‘anxiety’ since we do not think the officers of the NIA would be ignorant of the law on the subject, they even recorded the confessions made by the accused, clearly inadmissible under Sections 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act,” observed the court.

The prosecution also failed to prove the conspiracy. The court said the accused were alleged to have conspired, planned, and executed the twin blasts, for reasons of bail having been denied to the accused in the second Marad incident, in which 136 of the 142 accused remained imprisoned, as undertrials, for about four-and-a-half years. “The conspiracy as alleged by the prosecution has not been established,” said the court.

The prosecution mainly depended on a person, who was the seventh accused and later turned an approver, to prove its case and it became a boomerang on the agency. The fourth accused in the twin blast case is alleged to have made the call to the collectorate and it is not perceivable as to why the main witness (approver) was involved in making a call to Calicut Times, a media firm, especially when he did not have a strong bond with any of the accused.

“(As) There were five others involved in planting the bombs, who later converged at a nearby mosque, why the approver, a casual acquaintance, was involved vexes us to no end,” observed the court. The involvement of the approver just to make a call makes his very role suspect and unbelievable. Nor is there anything brought out in the investigation as to him having any connection with fundamentalist organisations or a part in the conspiracy alleged by the prosecution, the court said.

“We cannot but find, based on the discrepant notes in the testimony of the main witness and the attendant circumstances of turning approver, he is not a reliable witness and his role in the crime is very suspect,” it stated. The conduct of the accused in having gone to the mosque by itself has no relevance since it does not lead to an inference of the blast, being a consequence of that act or that act being influenced by the crime.

The court cited another lapse on the part of NIA. It pointed out that despite the charge that the third and first accused had allegedly carried out two experimental blasts at Maidanappally beach earlier, there had been no discovery of material objects from the site.

The first accused, Thadiyantevida Nazeer, disclosed that they had assembled in Markaz Masjid which is near the two bus stands where the bombs were placed, the room in which the bombs were made in KL Arcade and Cannanore Plastic House from which a plastic pot was purchased by him. There was no recovery of any object from these places which would have incriminated Nazeer, said the court.

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The New Indian Express