New Delhi : A Delhi court on Saturday concluded the retrial of Pakistani national Mohammad Hussain in a case of blast in a Bluline bus here in 1997 in which four people were killed and 27 others injured. The Supreme Court had ordered his fresh trial setting aside his conviction and death penalty for his role in the 1997 blast on the ground that he was not given proper opportunity to defend himself during the trial.  Additional Sessions Judge P K Jain concluded the trial on Saturday and reserved his judgement for January 4. The fresh trial in the matter had begun on November 7 when the court appointed advocate Rajesh Anand as the amicus curiae in the case. Anand said the matter was heard on almost day-to-day basis and a total of 34 prosecution witnesses were examined.

He said the Supreme Court had given three months for completing the fresh trial but the same was concluded in nearly 25 hearings from November 7 to December 23. Hussain, a native of Jindrakhar village in Okara, Pakistan, was convicted and sentenced to death in November 2004 by the trial court for his role in the blast. The blast had occurred in a Blueline bus at Rampura near Punjabi Bagh in West Delhi on December 30, 1997, leaving 4 persons dead and 24 others injured. Mohammad Hussain was convicted in the case while three persons were discharged. Hussain had challenged the trial court order, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court in August 2006. The Supreme Court had on August 31 this year ordered fresh trial in the case, setting aside his conviction and capital punishment, after he submitted that he was not given full opportunity to defend himself in the lower court. On January 11, a division bench of the apex court had given a split verdict on Hussain’s appeal with one judge directing a fresh (de novo) trial and the other holding the trial as “illegal” and ordering his deportation to Pakistan.  The two-judge bench, however, had agreed that the fundamental principles of the law and the Constitution were overlooked by both the trial court and the Delhi HC in award of the capital punishment. A three-judge bench of the apex court had said while prompt disposition of criminal cases is encouraged, but in order to reach a result the accused should not be “stripped of his right of a fair and impartial trial”.

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