Dec 122012

Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti, who faced the prospect of life-long imprisonment in India in view of his conviction in a 1992 murder case, is now free to leave the country with the murder charge being overturned by the Supreme Court.

A bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday held Chisti guilty of having merely caused hurt and sentenced him to imprisonment for a period he had already undergone.

The order comes as a major relief for the 80-year-old microbiologist, who is presently on bail in India, as the minimum sentence for murder is life imprisonment. The trial court and the Rajasthan High Court had both held him guilty of murder and had sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Justice Sathasivam had earlier in May allowed Chisti to make a trip to Pakistan while his appeal was pending consideration before the court. The court had asked him to deposit Rs 5 lakh as security and return by November 1. Chisti had returned on October 29, a couple of days before the deadline.

Chisti, who was on a visit to India, had been taken into custody on April 14, 1992, after a fight in Khadim Mohalla in Ajmer led to the death of a person and injury to another.

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