Bengaluru, Nov 26: On Wednesday, Nov 25, an NIA court convicted 5 persons and acquitted 12 in the Panayikulam SIMI camp case or arms training case.
While there have been 5 convictions in the case, it is necessary to point out the acquittals which is higher. This is not an isolated case of SIMI members getting acquitted.
A report of the Ministry for Home Affairs clearly shows that the number of acquittals in the SIMI related cases are extremely high. [Kerala terror camp: 5 convicted]
Out of the 111 cases registered against SIMI members, 97 have resulted in acquittals. While the SIMI continues to remain banned in India, if the acquittal rate rises any further the ban may just be lifted.
What results in so many acquittals?
There are a variety of reasons behind the high rate of acquittals where SIMI cases are concerned. Several police personnel have been blamed for being vindictive in their approach which just does not help the cause.
First and foremost being a former member of the SIMI does not mean an arrest is mandated. Secondly, many arrests have been carried out just on the basis that the persons have been viewing a video or reading the Quran.
While being vindictive is one part of the problem, the other is the lack of material against persons. The acquittal rate is high especially in the case of accused persons who are lower in the ranks.
It is very difficult to establish a case and get evidence against such persons. Moreover there is also a delay in handing over the cases to the centralised agency which is the National Investigating Agency.
There are often complaints that the state police conduct the initial part of the probe and end up missing crucial evidence. By the time the NIA takes over the case whatever little evidence remains also goes missing.
In many cases there is also a political angle to it which ends up making the case very weak.
The NIA which is probing several cases relating to SIMI says that many cases need to be built up on circumstantial evidence.
Take for instances cases of training camps. It becomes very difficult to prove the guilt of persons present there. The local police need to play a more active role in such cases.
They need to track down the activities and cooperate more with the central agencies in order to ensure that the cases that are filed end up in convictions, the NIA official also notes.