BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence awarded to Lashkar-e-Taiyiba (LeT) operative Mohammed Ashfaq, alias Arif, in the 2000 Red Fort attack case. Arif had challenged the verdict pronounced by the Delhi High Court in 2007. The death sentence was awarded by a Delhi trial court of Additional Session Judge OP Saini.
Arif has been convicted for murder, waging war against the Government of India and criminal conspiracy.
Two LeT militants had stormed the Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and opened indiscriminate fire, killing three people. The attackers were gunned down by the Army personnel during the ensuing gunbattle.
Eleven accused, including Arif, were put to trial, and the trial court by its Oct 24, 2005, order sentenced Arif to death and six others to varying sentences. It acquitted the other four.
In the jail for the last 11 years, Arif is the only one of the original accused to be given the death penalty.
Arif along with his wife Rehmana Yousuf Farooqui was arrested following a police shootout in Jamia Nagar area of south Delhi on December 26, 2000. The Delhi Police filed a chargesheet against Ashfaq and 21 others in the case.
The trial court on October 24, 2005, convicted Arif and six others for waging war against the country and murder while four of the accused were acquitted. Arif was sentenced to death on October 31, 2005 and his wife given seven-year rigrous jail term.
Two other accused – Nazir Ahmed Qasid and Farooq Ahmed Qasid – awarded life term while – Babar Mohshin Bhagwala, Sadakat Ali and Matloob Alam – sentenced to seven years in jail.