New Delhi, March 14: The Delhi High Court has ordered the release of a terror convict after he underwent 10 years imprisonment under the stringent Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and the Arms Act.
A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Siddharth Mridul freed Zafar Umar Khan who was arrested 2003 for allegedly receiving Rs.4 lakh through money laundering to help terrorist groups.
The trial court Jan 4, 2011 awarded 14 years jail to Khan and took into account his confessional statement which confirmed that he had received the money.
“The appellant has been in detention since May 13, 2003 and has suffered incarceration for nearly 10 years in addition to remissions which he may have earned. We are, therefore, inclined to modify the order of sentence and direct that the appellant would be released on the sentence undergone for the offence…nearly 9 years and 10 months,” the bench said in an order passed March 13.
“We feel that the maximum sentence of 14 years for offence under Section 22(2) POTA is considerably severe and harsh on the appellant,” said the judges.
“As per the prosecution version, the appellant lost his son to bullets of terrorists and his uncle also died under suspicious circumstances. The appellant, it is stated, was aggrieved as suitable ex-gratia payments were not made on his son’s death. The tragedy of losing a young son would have adversely impacted appellant’s personal life…,” the court said.
The court in its order further added: “At the same time, the evil consequences and pernicious effect of being involved in funding or passing on money for the purpose of terrorism cannot be understated. Terrorism affects the very fabric of the society and results in needless violence and loss of lives.
Khan, a Jammu and Kashmir resident, was nabbed by Delhi Police near Vir Bhoomi in the national capital in May 2003, allegedly with Rs.4 lakh, a pistol and nine live cartridges.