Court acquits 3 in robbery case connected to IC814 hijack

Mumbai, Jan 19 (PTI) Three persons charged with looting abank and later allegedly transferring a part of the booty forthe hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in December 1999were acquitted by a local court for lack of evidence and theprosecution''s failure to prove the case against them.

The sessions court here acquitted Abdul Latif andBhopalman Yusuf Khan, who had been convicted and sentenced tolife imprisonment for their alleged role in the hijack by aCBI court in Delhi in 2008, and one Mushtaq Ahmed.

According to the prosecution, the trio had on October 6,1999, robbed Maharashtra State Co-operative bank in suburbanBorivali and fled with Rs seven lakh cash.

They were arrested on December 30, 1999, and the policeclaimed to have recovered around Rs two lakh from them. Thepolice also said they recovered AK-56 rifles, hand grenadesand rocket launchers from the accused''s house in Jogeshwari.

Two Pakistani nationals Asif alias Babloo and HajiMohammad Iqbal were also arrested.

All of them were booked under sections 390 (robbery) and120(b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, as wellas under the Arms Act and the Explosives Substances Act.

While Asif and Iqbal pleaded guilty, the trio - Latif,Khan and Ahmed - faced trial. The court convicted Asif andIqbal and sentenced them to eight years imprisonment. (More)PTI VI VKV

The prosecution examined 12 witnesses to prove the case against the trio.

However, defence lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan said, "Theprosecution did nothing to bring in record that the accusedhad financed the hijacking of the plane."

Another defence lawyer Subhash Kanse said that even ifsuch a robbery would have been committed for the hijack thenthe evidence was not used in the Patiala court, which triedthe hijacking case.

"Though police in the chargesheet said that the accusedused the money looted from the bank in the hijacking case,there was no evidence of it," said Kanse.

Khan said that the ''panch'' witness, who deposed in thecase, said in the court that he was testifying whatever thepolice had told him.

He also claimed that there were contradictions in thetestimony of two investigating officers.

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