Kandhar hijacking judgment reserved till Jan 29

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Patiala, Jan 18 (UNI) A special court today reserved its judgment in the case of the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Katmandu to Kandhar in Afghanistan.

The arguments were completed in this case yesterday.

Special Judge of this case and Session Judge of Patiala Inderjit Singh Walia reserved the orders till the next date of hearing, fixed for January 29.

The case, which has been continuing here since March 2001, saw over 120 witnesses being examined. The case continued in camera in the Patiala Central Jail keeping in view its sensitivity.

Defence Council Rajinder Singh Sodhi and H V Rai pleaded the court to recall many witnesses in the case. They said that the case was purely on circumstantial evidence and alleged confession of the accused. They also said that their crime has not carborated with any of the witnesses of CBI.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which arrested three conspirators in the hijack case - Abdul Latif, Dalip Kumar and Yusuf Nepali - pursued the case here for almost seven years. They were arrested from Mumbai in December 1999, a few days after the hijacking.

The conspirators have been accused of helping the Pakistani hijackers in procuring fake passports and other papers and also helping them take weapons aboard the aircraft that was hijacked later. .

The IC-814 flight, with nearly 180 passengers and crew, was hijacked by five men after then it took off from the Nepal's capital on December 24, 1999.

The plane was taken towards Pakistan but later landed at Amritsar airport. It then took off again and finally landed at Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan.

The hijackers sought and secured the release from Indian prisons of dreaded terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) chief Maulana Azhar Masood.

One passenger was killed in the hijacking while others were released after a seven-day ordeal at Kandahar.

The then Indian external affairs minister Jaswant Singh flew with the terrorists to be released at Kandahar to secure the release of the passengers on board IC-814.

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