Jaipur: Shahbaz Ahmed, an accused in the 1993 Jaipur bomb blast case was given bail by the Rajasthan high court after the prosecution failed to produce satisfactory evidence.
Ahmed, 48, was charged with sending an e-mail claiming responsibility for the blasts that rocked Jaipur. In all, bombs planted at eight locations in the Walled City went off on May 13, 2008, killing 71 people and injuring scores of others.
Ahmed has been in custody since 2008. He was granted bail by the Rajasthan high court on February 25.
Ahmed’s advocate Mujahid Ahmed said the court has given bail till disposal of the case. “It is temporary relief. He can remain out of jail till the final decision comes in the case,” said Mujahid Ahmed.
Shahbaz Ahmed, a resident of Lucknow, was earlier acquitted in December 2019 by a trial court in all eight cases filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
The advocate said Ahmed was not released from jail after his acquittal. He was informed that two cases were pending against him. He was arrested on December 25, 2019 from jail in another case relating to the blasts. The case had been kept pending without filing a chargesheet.
The ATS had approached the Rajasthan high court against his acquittal. When the court asked the advocate of the ATS why it had taken so much time to file a chargesheet, the advocate failed to give a satisfactory reply.
The prosecution contended that Ahmed had planted a bomb outside the Hanuman Temple in the Walled City in Jaipur but the bomb failed to detonate. They said that the bomb did not explode and Ahmed should be given punishment like the others convicted in the case.
While granting bail, Justice Pankaj Bhandari expressed surprise over why Ahmed was not arrested in the case when he was in custody for 12 years.
The judge observed, “It is indeed surprising that when the petitioner was languishing in jail (I am using the term ‘languishing’ because the petitioner remained in custody for 12 years and was ultimately found not guilty in all the cases). As to why the petitioner was not arrested in this case when he remained in custody for 12 years, is a query put up before the learned additional advocate general, to which the learned additional advocate general is clueless.”
The ATS filed eight cases in connection with the blasts and on December 17, 2019, a special court trying the bomb blast case had convicted four people for the blasts and awarded them death penalty under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Act.