A local court on Friday deferred the hearing in a case related to the killing of four IAF officers by terrorists in 1990 after one of the key accused, Mohammad Rafiq Pahloo alias ‘Nanaji’, was arrested by the Srinagar police along with nine others for conspiring to revive separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The special TADA court Jammu has issued warrants for the presence of Nanaji on the next date of hearing which was set for August 19, CBI chief prosecutor Manoka Kohli said.
Besides Pahloo, others accused in the killing of IAF personnel include JKLF chief Yasin Malik, Ali Mohammed Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias ‘Nalka’, Showkat Ahmed Bakshi and Javed Ahmed Zargar.
As the proceedings of the much publicized case started Friday, the court was informed by both sides (prosecution and defence) that one of the accused, Nanaji, was arrested by the Srinagar police on Monday and is not available. He is presently in police remand.
“A prosecution witness was present in the court but could not record his statement due to non-availability of Nanaji, who is on bail and used to appear on every date. The court was informed that according to the information, he was among some people who were arrested in Srinagar,” Kohli, who is also Senior Additional Advocate General, told reporters.
She said the court issued production warrants against Nanaji to ensure his presence on the next date of hearing on August 19.
Kohli said the court turned down the request of the prosecution witness for recording his statement because of the absence of the accused in the trial court.
Malik, who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail, was present through video conference, while others were physically present.
The special TADA court has framed charges separately against the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief and several others in the case as well as another case related to the abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, by his group in 1989.
While the charges were framed against Malik and six others on March 16, 2020 in the killing of four IAF personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar in January 1990, the court has framed the charges against Malik and nine others in the 1989 abduction case of Rubaiya on January 11 last year.
Malik was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in April 2019 in connection with a terror funding case, a month after his group was banned by the central government.
According to the CBI, the IAF personnel were fired upon by terrorists in which 40 of them, including a woman, received serious injuries and four IAF personnel were killed on the spot.
On completion of investigation, a charge sheet was filed on August 31, 1990 against Malik and six others before the designated TADA Court at Jammu.
On July 9, the Srinagar police in a tweet said “a search was conducted on basis of credible info about meeting of some ex-trts (terrorists) of JKLF & erstwhile separatists in a hotel in Srinagar. They were brought to Kothibagh PS for verification. Inquiry has started, prima facie it came out that they were planning to revive JKLF and Hurriyat.”
The next day, police announced formal arrest of 10 of them including Nanji and said some more arrests are likely as the investigation in the case is in full swing.
Police have already registered a case under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal code at Kothibagh police station in the heart of the city.