New Delhi: A special NIA court on Wednesday framed additional charges, including that of waging war against India, on Wasim Akram Malik, arrested for his alleged role in the September 2011 Delhi High Court blast that left 15 dead.
During an in-chamber hearing, District Judge IS Mehta framed additional charges under sections 121 (waging war against country), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the State), 122 (collecting arms with intention of
waging war against Govt) and 123 (concealing with intent to felicitate a design to wage war) of IPC against Malik, sources said.
Subsequent to framing of the charges, Malik pleaded not guilty and claimed trial after which the judge fixed the matter for April 1 for recording of evidence in the case. Recording of evidence will begin with the examination of co-accused-turned-approver Amir Abbas Dev.
Dev was arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged role in the case but had later turned approver and was granted pardon by the judge.
The trial court had earlier declined the plea of NIA to prosecute Malik under the stringent charge of waging war against India which entails maximum punishment of death penalty, but the high court had ruled otherwise.
The Delhi High Court had on December 3 last year ordered the trial court to frame charges of waging war against the country against Malik, who is currently in jail.
The trial court had on October 1 last year framed charges, including that of murder, against Malik under IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substance Act for his alleged role in the terror attack at the high court's reception area.
The court had framed charges against Malik for offences punishable under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (causing hurt) and 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the IPC.
The trial court judge, however, had declined NIA's plea to prosecute Malik for the charges of waging war against India saying that merely because an e-mail referring to the release of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 9, was sent by the accused after the blast, it does not mean that an offence against the state was committed.
While deciding to frame charges against Malik, the trial court had referred to Dev's statement to the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC.
The NIA had filed charge sheet against six persons, including Malik, Dev and a minor, besides three others - Amir Kamal and Junaid Akram Malik who are suspected members of banned Hizb-ul Mujahideen and are evading arrest. The minor's case is being adjudicated separately.
The sixth accused Shakir Hussain Sheikh alias Chota Hafiz was killed in an encounter with security forces on December 20 last year in Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir.