Syed Mohammad Kazmi, the main accused in the Israel diplomat attack case was granted bail on October 19, after spending nearly seven months in jail.
As the case now gears up for framing of charges and arguments commence on October 31 onwards, Kazmi's lawyer, Mehmood Pracha points at some glaring discrepancies between what Delhi police have said in their first charge sheet and what it has alleged in public.
In an interview with Rediff.com's Priyanka, Pracha says that he is gearing for the upcoming arguments in the case.
Your client was arrested on March 6, and was released on October 19 after almost seven months in jail? Why did it take so long to get bail?
The Supreme Court judgment clearly says that he was entitled for bail from July 17 onward. In fact, we pleaded before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav that our bail plea was not being heard.
But after he refused us bail on July 20 under section 167 (2) and the additional sessions judge too did not hear us when approached on July 30, we approached the Delhi high court.
But the Delhi HC said that they would not be able to hear us before the date fixed on October 9, as there were many other cases. We then approached the Supreme Court for bail. The court admitted our application and we were granted bail.
The special cell of the Delhi police filed a chargesheet on July 31. How do you feel the case has progressed so far?
Interestingly, the chargesheet filed by the Delhi police is not technically complete. First, a case under the Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act needs to be sanctioned by the Lt Governor. Second, it also needs to be sanctioned by the Central government. Both are lacking, and a chargesheet was filed without sanction.
Technically, a trial cannot even begin without a sanction. We will be raising all these issues.
There has also been a delay in the case proceedings. Cognisance was taken in this case on August 8, eight days after filing of chargesheet. But even after taking cognisance, the magistrate did not send it for trial and kept it with him for no valid reason. This is hitting at the root of a speedy trail.
The magistrate kept granting time to prosecution so that they could file a sanction.
We had to move an application in writing saying that all the files with the magistrate are complete, and hence it should be send to the sessions judge. There is no legal sanction to hold a file after cognisance of the case is complete.
In all these days in between he (Kazmi) was being produced before the magistrate and remand was being extended. We did not get bail because we were not getting a hearing on the bail application.
What are the exact charges?
According to the police chargesheet, he is an accused in this case, and there are four suspects named.
The difference between the two (a suspect and an accused), as I read it, is that they don't have much evidence against the suspects in the trail.
Kazmi has been accused of aiding and abetting a terrorist act and conspiring for it. According to the chargesheet, the conspiracy is to injure and attempt to murder and disruption to property.
Was he mistreated in any way in jail?
He stayed at the Tihar jail from March 24 until his release. Now, when person of good repute is detained, it is traumatising enough. It is mistreatment enough. The family members had however lodged a complaint against the Delhi police, after a member of the family was allegedly kidnapped.
The Delhi police have often stated that they have found substantive evidence against your client
They have to connect the bike or the moped they have seized with a person and with the event, for which they have no evidence. The prosecution case has to stand on its own feet.
Their case is that the moped was brought for Rs 1,500. Do you think a moped bought for Rs 1,500 would be working? (The Delhi police claimed to have seized this moped from Kazmi's residence, which they say was used in recce in April last year of the Israel embassy.)
(Also) The chargesheet says that Irani was riding this black bike, (on the day of the bombing) which he took on rent without signing any papers. Now nobody gives a bike without signing any papers, let alone renting it to a foreigner.
Furthermore, the police have not yet produced any credible evidence that this so-called Irani even exists. He is a ghost. Nobody, not even the police have seen him. They have merely produced photocopies of what appears to be his passport in court.
They don't even have a confirmation from the Iranian government whether this passport is genuine or not. The most solid evidence they could have was the emigration record, but they don't have that either.
I am wary of everything they produce because they are such masters of producing evidence.
As per the police, Kazmi is the only conspirator in the case.
Now, the moped was used by Irani to do recce last year in April. At that time, he had access to other bikes also, but he chose to chose this Rs 1,500 bike to do recce. And, the Delhi police have no public witness to back their claim.
Isn't it quite easy to plant things?
They don't have a public witness for what happened in the heart of city where thousands of people live. There are thousands of cheap things planted, because it doesn't cost the police much, this is our experience. They did not even trouble to plant to a vehicle which was in a functional condition.
The Delhi police also claimed to have seized an Iranian SIM, and two cell phones.
Having an Iranian SIM and the fact the SIM was given by somebody are two different things.
Kazmi used to go to Iran hence he had an Iranian SIM. But they have no proof nor have they said anything about who gave the SIM to him in the chargesheet.
All they say is that an Iranian SIM was found with Kazmi, to which, again, there is no public witness.
Second, according to the chargesheet, Irani was called from an Indian number. But what is the proof that the number on which the call (allegedly made from Kazmi's phone) belongs to Irani?
All this false concocted evidence, which in course of the trial we will prove is wrong.
The case cannot stand on presumptions and theories.
Mr. Kazmi is a Press Information Bureau accredited journalist for last 16 continuous years; he has accompanying the prime minister on his foreign trips. He has been an anchor for Doordarshan and has been writing in various newspapers for a very long time.
Why do you think he was picked up?
This is my defense, and as his lawyer this is what I am going to expose them about. I can't tell it to the media right now. I know exactly why he was framed. He was framed based on a conspiracy that does not start nor end here in India. I can prove it.
What about the bank transfers; and money allegedly found with Kazmi?
The then Commissioner of Police, B K Gupta, had held a press conference and told mediapersons that the motive of this crime is that a substantial amount of money had come into Kazmi's account.
The said amount was about Rs 20 lakh or more. The press note that I read from the commissioner's office said this matter is being referred to the enforcement directorate.
Surprisingly, this main motive for the crime does not find mention in the chargesheet. As of now, it a crime without a motive.
There is not even a whisper of those Rs 20 lakh that had in flowed from so-called external forces about which the police claim to have solid proof.
Why did they say all that in the press when there is no mention of it in the chargesheet?
In any of the 1,000 pages of the chargesheet, there isn't one word of the Rs 20 lakh and the press note that followed.
About $1,250 were confiscated from his house. And he was a frequent traveller and anyone traveling abroad would have this much money. Again, the only witnesses to Delhi police having seized this money from Kazmi's house are members of the special cell.
Does the police also charge Kazmi of being in touch with radical groups in Iran?
No, there is not even a whisper of any connection with radical groups or Kurds.
The accusation is that he (Kazmi) was involved in the recce the previous year there is not even a mention of the actual bombing incident in the chargesheet.
What are the points in the chargesheet that disturb you?
The Delhi police say that the person who planted the sticky bomb was on a black bike. Whereas, the only witness in his statement (in the police chargesheet) states that the person who planted the sticky bomb was on red bike.
Also, according to the chargesheet, TNT was discovered from the hotel room where Irani was staying. Now, the police authorities had found out about the room on February 27 (while Irani had fled the country on February 13, the day of the bombing).
But the police waited for a full month to search the room, and then on March 13 the room is searched and TNT duly found concealed in a false ceiling.
Do you believe that this room stayed empty and un-sanitised for a full month?
Also, according to the chargesheet, the main witness was shown CCTV footage of Irani and he is stated that the body type and the color of the jacket resembled the person who pasted the sticky bomb. Is that enough?