December 14, 2016 3:56:15 am
Five Indian Mujahideen (IM) cadres, including co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, were on Tuesday convicted by a special NIA court here in connection with the 2013 blasts in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, in which 18 people were killed. This is the first time IM cadres have been convicted in a terror case.
The other four convicts are Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas from Pakistan, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi from Uttar Pradesh, Tahaseen Akhtar from Bihar and Aijaz Sheikh from Maharashtra. They are at present lodged in Cherlapally prison, where the special court heard the case. The sentencing has been posted for December 19. IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal, the prime accused in the case, is absconding.
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The six were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Explosives Substances Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
The trial began on August 24 last year. By the time final arguments concluded last month, the NIA court had examined 453 witnesses and over 150 documents. The court reserved its judgment for November 21, and then posted it for December 13.
In its first chargesheet, the NIA accused Yasin Bhatkal alias Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa and Asadullah Akhtar of conspiring to plant bombs at two places. Akhtar and Bhatkal were arrested by the NIA on August 29, 2013, from the Nepal border in Bihar. Akhtar was also accused of smuggling explosives from Mangaluru to Hyderabad.
The second chargesheet was filed after Zia-ur-Rehman and Tahaseen Akhtar were arrested in March 2014. The NIA said that Riyaz Bhatkal had sent the explosives and money to Mangaluru, where Asadullah and Rehman took the consignment from an unknown person. They brought it to Hyderabad, where they joined Tahaseen and prepared two IEDs using pressure cookers.
According to the chargesheet, they conducted a test blast at Abdullahpurmet on the outskirts of Hyderabad. On February 21, 2013, they placed the two IEDs on the two bicycles — purchased by them on February 20, 2013 — and parked them at the busy Venkatadri and Konak theatres in Dilsukhnagar. The IEDs exploded at 7 pm. Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said this was the first conviction of IM cadres. “We will appeal for maximum punishment,’’ he said.
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