Wani has finally come out clean, but paid a heavy cost. He was 28 years old at the time of arrest . Today he is 44. Wani spent 16 years, the prime of his youth, behind bars for crimes the trial courts found he had not committed.
After Wani’s acquittal in the last of the 11 cases, his counsel Irshad Hanif raised some important questions: “Who will compensate Wani for the 16 years he lost in jail?
Will the government fasten accountability on the police officers who implicated him in the 11 cases? How will the government pay back the family?“ When Hanif argued for his bail last month in Sabarmati Express blast case in the Supreme Court, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had asked the trial court to finish trial expeditiously while taking an unprecedented decision to grant him bail at a future date -November 1.
The court said if trial was not completed, Wani would be released on bail on that day . “If the prosecution does not complete examination of witnesses by October 31, Wani will be released on bail on Novem ber 1, 2017 on the terms and conditions to be imposed by the trial court,“ it had ordered.
After his acquittal in the case, Wani does not need benefit of this order. The CJI could not hide his exasperation at the ineptitude shown by UP and Delhi police. “What a shame! He has been acquitted in 10 out of 11 serious cases slapped on him. No credible evidence has been found against him by the trial courts in all these cases,“ he said on April 25.
Looking at Wani’s six aliases, CJI Khehar had asked: “Why does a person require half a dozes aliases? You have six of them.“ Advocate Hanif explained, “He was a bright student at Aligarh Muslim University and was pursuing a PhD course in Arabic after completing his post-graduation when he was arrested. All these aliases have been given to him by police.“
Wani was arrested in July , 2001 by the Delhi Police and on the basis of alleged confessional statements given by him and the other accused under Section 161 of CrPC (inadmissible as evidence in court of law), he was made accused in the serial blasts that rocked several towns and trains in UP on the eve of Independence Day in 2000.