In a big development on Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed the review plea of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq in the 2000 Red Fort attack case. He was one of the individuals who started indiscriminate firing at the Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and killed three Army Jawans belonging to the 7th Rajputana Rifles. After a Sessions Court awarded him capital punishment, the Delhi High Court confirmed the sentence. On August 10, 2011, the apex court dismissed Arif's appeal and upheld his death sentence.
Pronouncing the verdict, CJI UU Lalit observed, "We have accepted the prayers that electronic records must be placed in consideration. His guilt is proved. We affirm the view taken by this court and reject the review petition". Arif is a Pakistani national who joined LeT, entered India along with arms and ammunition in August 1999 and camped at Srinagar with other members of the terror outfit.
In its 2011 verdict, the two-judge SC bench comprising Justices VS Sirpurkar and TS Thakur held that the defence counsel did not attempt to bring any mitigating circumstance. It noted, "In fact, this is a unique case where there is one most aggravating circumstance that it was a direct attack on the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by foreigners. Thus, it was an attack on Mother India. This is apart from the fact that as many as three persons had lost their lives. The conspirators had no place in India. Appellant was a foreign national and had entered India without any authorization or even justification".
The court added, "This apart from the fact that the appellant built up a conspiracy by practicing deceit and committing various other offences in furtherance of the conspiracy to wage war against India as also to commit murders by launching an unprovoked attack on the soldiers of Indian Army. We, therefore, have no doubts that death sentence was the only sentence in the peculiar circumstance of this case. We, therefore, confirm the judgment of the trial court and the High Court convicting the accused and awarding death sentence for the offences under Section 302, IPC."