New Delhi: The Gujarat government has opposed in the Supreme Court a plea by six persons, acquitted by the apex court in the 2002 Akshardham terror attack case, seeking compensation for their 'wrongful' arrest, saying it would have a "serious demoralising effect" on the investigating agencies.
It said that since the trial court as well as the Gujarat High Court had convicted these persons for their alleged roles in the terror attack that had claimed 32 lives, the issue of "curtailment" of their personal liberty, which they are claiming, cannot be accepted.
On 16 May, 2014, the Supreme Court had acquitted the six persons, including the three condemned prisoners, in the case, saying, "The story of the prosecution crumbles down at every juncture."
In its counter affidavit, the state government said that the probe agency had followed the law in chargesheeting these six persons, who were convicted by the designated POTA court, and their conviction was subsequently confirmed by the High Court.
"When two courts having jurisdiction have appreciated the evidence collected against the petitioners and have recorded a judicial finding holding the petitioners to be guilty of the offences charged, the curtailment of the petitioners' personal liberty cannot be said to be accepted in accordance with law," the affidavit said.
It said, "Even after the functioning of the statutory authority conducting investigation being examined and accepted by two competent hierarchal courts, if this court were to grant any relief, it would have a serious demoralising effect on the investigating agencies throughout the country who would remain under threat investigating a situation in which in spite of their investigation being accepted by two courts they are held liable only on account of this court taking a different view of the evidence collected by them."
It said that such an eventuality would be "against public interest and interest of the nation".
Besides the three who were facing the gallows, the apex court had also quashed the life sentence of two others and the 10-year jail term of another person for the September 24, 2002 terrorist attack on Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.
Adam Ajmeri, Shan Miya alias Chand Khan and Mufti Abdul Qyyum Mansuri were awarded death sentence in July 2006, by the special court set up to try the case under POTA.