Gujarat Sessions Court convicted 49 of the 78 accused in the serial bomb blast that took place in Ahmedabad in 2008. The court has acquitted a total of 28 accused in the case on suspicion. The next hearing to decide the quantum of sentence for the convicted persons is scheduled for February 11.
The accused had submitted an application under Section 354 in the Code of Criminal Procedure and asked for three weeks’ time, said special public prosecutor, Amit Patel.
Defendants’ counsel submitted to the court that the convicts have scope for correction and cited Rishi Valmiki – a criminal turned sage according to Hindu scripture – as an example.
As the accused are qualified educationally, they demanded three weeks to provide details such as medical evidence, educational certificates and their social status. Considering, the lawyers of the accused are aware of the facts of the case, the court has given time till February 11 keeping in view the due process of law.
Judge A R Patel stated that the lawyers of the accused party should visit the convicts in the jail today till 5 PM and later make representations in the court. Details including educational qualifications should be sought from the families of the convicts by their lawyers.
The court has directed to send medical details and other documents of prisoners lodged in Jaipur, Bengaluru, Gaya, Bhopal and other jails to Sabarmati Central Jail by this evening. Arguments will now be heard from both parties on February 11.
During the hearing, it was submitted by the public prosecutor that the convicts have committed a heinous crime so maximum punishment should be given. For this, the verdict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was referred in the court.
Citing a ruling, prosecutors also argued that Valmiki is not an everyday occurrence. At the same time, the court should take into consideration the criminal history of the accused and the jailbreaking scandal.
Ahmedabad Serial Bomb Blasts
The court had concluded the trial against the 77 accused in September last year. The trial began in December 2009 against 78 people connected to the banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM). The number of accused later came down to 77, after one of them turned approver.
Four more accused were arrested later, but their trial has not yet commenced. Fifty-six people were killed and over 200 injured in 21 blasts that hit the city within a span of 70 minutes on 26 July 2008.
It was alleged that the IM terrorists had planned these blasts as revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in which several persons from the minority community had died.
The police had claimed that people associated with the IM, a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts.
Days after the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, the police recovered bombs from different parts of Surat, following which 20 FIRs were registered in Ahmedabad and 15 in Surat.
The trial was conducted after the court merged all the 35 FIRs.