Last week, a Delhi court acquitted two men from Jammu and Kashmir, Javed Ahmad Tantray and Ashiq Ali Bhatt, saying the Delhi Police Special Cell had foisted trumped-up charges on them.
The two men had been arrested on August 6, 2009, and were accused by the police of planning suicide attacks in the capital ahead of Independence Day that year.
At the time of their arrest, the then special commissioner (Special Cell) P N Aggarwal had told a press conference that Tantray and Bhatt were caught in Daryaganj while they were making a call to a Pakistani contact from a PCO. Aggarwal said that before coming to Delhi, Tantray and Bhatt had met Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and his deputy Khalid Saifullah at a terror training camp in Pakistan.
Nearly all of the evidence produced by the police collapsed in court. The trial judge issued a damning indictment: the case, he said, “was a clear-cut plant case by the Special Cell to get out-of-turn promotion”. These are some of the glaring loopholes in the Special Cell’s case.
*Two-way toll plaza slips: The police claimed Tantray and Bhatt came to Delhi in a white Santro from Jammu on August 6, 2009. They submitted two-way toll slips of that day from three plazas: Ladhowal (Ludhiana), Shambhu in Ambala and Karnal. “The police have maintained that they were to come to Delhi and receive instructions here. But they (the police) submitted two-way toll plaza slips of the same day, which proved that the car had first travelled to Jammu and then come to Delhi,” M S Khan, counsel for Tantray and Bhatt, said.
*No place for weapons in the car: The police said two AK-47 assault rifles, four 120-round magazines and two hand grenades had been hidden in a cavity under the rear seat and on the front left side of the car. However, Lalit Goyal, the owner of the car, told the court that there was hardly any space between the rear seat and the fuel tank, which could have accommodated a large weapon. Goyal’s car had been stolen from Panipat four months earlier.
*Witness saw no explosives: Balkishan, a resident of northwest Delhi’s Narela, who made the PCR call on the night of the incident, failed to corroborate the police’s account of the Santro or the recovery of explosives. Balkishan told The Indian Express, “I was returning after dinner at a friend’s place. I