Advocate Shahid Azmi killing case: Bombay HC lifts stay on trial

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has vacated the stay on trial in the 2010 killing of criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi and rejected a plea filed by an accused seeking a change of the trial court on the grounds of “bias”.

Azmi was shot dead in his office in suburban Kurla on February 11, 2010.

At the time of his death, Azmi represented many accused in the 7/11 train blasts cases, Malegaon 2006 bomb blasts cases, the Aurangabad arms haul case, and the Ghatkopar blasts case. Hansal Mehta’s 2013 film Shahid’ starring Rajkummar Rao is based on the life and work of Azmi.

The prosecution case is that Azmi was killed at the behest of gangster Chhota Rajan.

The High Court stayed the trial in September 2022 after an accused Hasmukh Solanki moved an application to transfer the case to another sessions judge.

A single bench of Justice P D Naik on February 7 vacated the stay order and rejected Solanki’s plea seeking transfer of the case from the sessions judge in Mumbai, currently conducting the trial, to another sessions judge. Solanki had alleged bias by the present judge.

Justice Naik in the order said he did not find sufficient material on record to conclude that the trial court was biased against Solanki.

“The material on record is not sufficient to draw the conclusion that the trial court is biased against Solanki and that he would not get a fair trial before the said court. No case is made out for transfer of trial,” HC said.

Azmi had been in Tihar jail for 7 years after being charged under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA) for his alleged involvement to kill politicians.

He was later acquitted by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, he obtained an LLB degree while in prison.

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( With inputs from )

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