The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday suffered a setback with the Supreme Court acquitting three alleged terrorists sentenced to life imprisonment in the case relating to the bomb blast at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha office in Chennai in 1993 in which 11 people were killed.
A bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar said in a judgement the prosecution failed to conclusively establish the guilt of Abubucker Siqqique, M P Rafiq Ahamed and Hyder Ali of blasting the building in Chennai's M V Naidu Street in retaliation for 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.
The apex court said the trial court had erroneously convicted the trio on the basis of their confessional statement of procuring gelatin and detonators for committing the offence, though there was no trace of the said material, as rather explosives like RDX and PETN were used in the daring attack.
The trio were earlier convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a designated court on June 21, 2007, for murder, criminal conspiracy and various other offences under the TADA act on the basis of the chargesheet filed by CBI.
The apex court said excepting the confessional statements there was no other independent evidence with regard to the participation of the accused in the conspiracy and the particular role played by them
"The trial court quite erroneously observed that Abubucker Siddique in his confessional statement had indicated that gelatin sticks, detonators and 'other explosives' were procured.
"Having said so, the trial court without any basis goes on to accept the contention of the prosecution that other explosives could have been RDX, PETN and merely because the source could not be proved it cannot be said that such explosives were not used," Justice Nijjar writing the judgement said.
The apex court cited the evidence of the investigating officer M S Sundarajan who said "during the course of my investigation, I could not find out the origin from where RDX or PETN was obtained by the accused for causing blast at the RSS office."
"The aforesaid conclusion does not explain as to what happened to 13 kg of gelatin which was procured from Gudiyatham. It also does not explain as to why only traces of RDX were found in dead bodies, clothes and parts of the building."
"Not a trace of gelatin was found in the building. It is worth noticing here that in none of the confessional statements has it been stated about any other explosives being procured. Yet, the trial court concludes that other explosive material has also been procured. The conclusion is clearly without any factual basis nor supported by any evidence," the apex court said.
It said the explosive used in the crime was made out of RDX and PETN but no trace of gelatin was found at thee scene. "The prosecution could only prove that the appellant had procured gelatin sticks and detonators from Gudiyatham but the traces of said explosives could not be found from the scene of occurrence.
"Thus, there is clearly no evidence to link the appellants with the explosion. In the result, the prosecution story as put forward does not inspire confidence on the basis of the material placed on record," the bench said while directing the forthwith release of the trio.