Yasin Malik: NIA asks for Death Penalty, Delhi High Court Issues Notice

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to Yasin Malik, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) over the NIA’s plea seeking his death penalty in a terror funding case. Appearing for National Investigation Agency (NIA), Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta argued before a division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh that it was a “rarest of rare case”. He also went on to compare Malik with slain al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

“If Osama Bin Laden was before this court, he would also get the same treatment,” Mehta said. Responding to him, Justice Mridul said there can be no comparison between the two because Osama did not face any trial in any court of law across the globe. Mehta then said, “Possibly US was right.”

Meanwhile, the high court has sought recommendations of the Law Commission on Yasin’s death penalty and also issued production warrants for Malik and listed the case for hearing next on August 9. In May 2022, Malik, who has been convicted in connection with a 2017 terror funding case, was sentenced to life by a special NIA court here.

Special Judge Praveen Singh had pronounced the verdict under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which will be concurrent and will run till life.

The quantum of punishment for the offences in the terror funding case, was pronounced last year amid tight security at the Patiala House Courts.

During the course of the hearing in the trial court last year, Malik had said: “I will not beg for anything. The case is before this court, and I leave it to the court to decide it.” “If I have been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, if Indian Intelligence proves this, then I will also retire from politics. I will accept the hanging… with seven Prime Ministers, I have worked,” he had told the court.

The NIA told the court during the hearing that the accused is responsible for the Kashmiri Pandits’ exodus from the Valley. The probe agency had also argued for the death sentence for Malik.

On the other hand, the amicus curiae had sought life imprisonment as a minimum punishment in the case. Malik had pleaded guilty in the matter earlier. In the previous hearing, he told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him, including section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being member of a terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.