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SC upholds Geelani's acquittal but points needle of suspicion

Ranjit Kumar Sinha and Dhananjay Mahapatra in New Delhi
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August 04, 2005 19:26 IST

Endorsement of the acquittal of Delhi University College lecturer S A R Geelani in the Parliament attack case came with a sting when the Supreme Court, taking note of  his behaviour and 'untruthful' statements in the case, said the needle of suspicion pointed towards him.

A bench comprising justice P V Reddi and justice P P Naolekar, in its 271-page judgement, upheld the Delhi high court verdict setting aside the death penalty imposed on him by the trial court and acquitting him of all charges. However, it noted with distress the spectre of suspicion looming on the academician.

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Geelani's conduct at the time when Parliament was being attacked on December 13, 2001 was  'disturbing' to note and gave rise to 'serious suspicion' about him, the bench said. It also took note of the 'untruthful pleas raised by Geelani about his contacts with Shaukat and Afzal.'

Though it raised a finger of suspicion at the lecturer, the court was quick to add that suspicion alone, howsoever grave it might be, could not be the ground for the conviction of anyone. Geelani, who was attacked by an unidentified gunman on February 8 in front of the house of his lawyer - Nandita Haksar, had accused the Delhi police of constantly 'tailing' him and tapping his phones.

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