3 JuM Militants Get Lifer In Wanchoo Case
1 February 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has convicted and sentenced to life three Jamait-Ul- Mujahidin militants, including Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, who were acquitted by a Jammu Tada court of charges of killing human rights activist H N Wanchoo in 1992. Allowing an appeal filed by the CBI against their acquittal, a Bench of Justice S N Variva and Justice B N Agrawal took a diametrically opposite view on admissibility of the evidence in the case based solely on the confessional statements of the three militants recorded under Section 15 of Tada. The other two sentenced to life were lecturer Shafiq Khan and Gulam Qadir. In November 1992, the JuM militants kidnapped Wanchoo from his house in Srinagar, took him to Bal Garden and shot him dead. The CBI had chargesheeted 12 accused, of which four died and five were declared absconders. The other three were acquitted by the designated court at Jammu. The Tada court had rejected the evidence on four counts. First, the concerned police official did not ask the accused whether they were making the confessional statements voluntarily. Secondly, the CBI SP did not tell the accused that the confessional statement could be used against them as evidence. Thirdly, the statements were recorded in Hindi which was not the official language of the court and lastly, the SP did not ask the accused whether they wanted to add or subtract anything from their confessional statements.