The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of death penalty awarded to a convict in the 23-year-old bomb blast case in a bus in Rajasthan’s Dausa district, which killed 14 people. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant ordered that Abdul Hameed be not executed until further orders and agreed to hear his appeal against the Rajasthan High Court judgment upholding his death penalty in the 1996 terror attack case.
“Until further orders, there shall be a stay of operation of the impugned judgment(s) and order(s) passed by the High Court and stay of execution of the death sentence. List these matters after four weeks. In the meantime, the Registry of this Court is directed to call the Original Record of these appeals from the courts below,” the bench said.
The High Court, in its July 22 judgment, had acquitted six persons while upholding the death sentence awarded to one, and the life term to another in the bomb blast case.
The six acquitted persons included five Jammu and Kashmir natives Javed Khan, Latif Ahmed, Mohammad Ali Bhatt, Mirja Nissa Hussain, and Abdul Ghani. The sixth one, Rais Beg, who was acquitted is from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. A trial court at Bandikui in Dausa had awarded death penalty to one person, Abdul Hameed, and life terms to seven others in the case.
The high court upheld the death penalty awarded to Abdul Hameed, saying he was the key person behind planting of the bomb in the bus going to Bikaner from Agra on May 22, 1996. It had also upheld the life term awarded to Pappu alias Salim, holding him to be responsible for supplying the explosives.
All eight were convicted by the Bandikui sessions court for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, the Explosives Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act. The high court had also upheld the acquittal of a ninth person, Farukh Ahmed Khan, by the Bandikui court in the case earlier in 2014.
The state government had challenged the acquitted of Khan, but the high court bench dismissed the appeal against him. The blast had taken place in a state roadways bus going to Bikaner from Agra on May 22, 1996. Fourteen persons were killed and 37 injured in the blast.
Hameed whose death penalty was upheld in the Samleti bomb blast case is also a key accused in the case related to planting of bombs in the SMS Stadium of Jaipur on January 26, 1996.