Four convicted in 2008 Jaipur serial bomb blast case

Four convicted in 2008 Jaipur serial bomb blast case

The 4 convicts (Left to Right) - Salman, Saif-ur-Rahman, Sarvar Azami and Mohammed Saif.

A special court on Wednesday pronounced its verdict in the 2008 Jaipur serial blasts case convicting four accused while one was acquitted. The four accused were held guilty on charges under different sections including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. 

In 2008 Jaipur serial blasts, in the span of 20 minutes, eight blasts killed 72 people and left 170 injured. 

However, the quantum of the punishment has not been delivered by the court. Four out of five accused that were presented in the court on Wednesday, namely  Mohammed Saif, Sarvar Azami, Saif-ur-Rahman and Salman were held guilty. Whereas the fifth accused Shahbaz Hussain was acquitted by the court in all eight cases lodged against him. 

Why was the fifth accused acquitted?

Speaking to DH, Suresh Vyas, amicus curiae Shahbaz Hussain, said, " Shahbaz Hussain has been held not guilty in the case. Rest of the four accused have been held guilty and have been booked under sections 302 (Punishment for murder), 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 324 and 120 B ( Punishment of criminal conspiracy,) under Indian Penal Code."

"The prosecutor failed to prove charges against him, which included sending an email and taking responsibility of the blasts. Hence the court acquitted Hussain in all the cases", Vyas added. According to the charge sheet filed by the police Shahbaz Hussain owned a cyber café in Sahibabad of Ghaziabad district in Uttar Pradesh. He was a member of the banned terrorist organization, the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). He was the first arrest.

Ajay Kumar Sharma, the presiding officer, pronounced the verdict, 11 years after the incident took place. Sharma is the eighth judge to hear the Jaipur blasts case so far. 

The trial was completed in the court with arguments from the defense as well as the prosecution had come to an end recently. During the trial, the prosecution has submitted the statements of more than one thousand witnesses. The Rajasthan high court had set up a special court for the trial in the blast cases in the mini secretariat Bani Park area, where the case was being heard.

Recalling the case

It was May 13 (Tuesday), 2008, when the first blast burst at Manak Chowk, followed by Chandpole Hanuman temple, Sanganeri Gate Hanuman temple, Johri Bazar,  Badi Chaupar, Choti Chaupar, Tripolia, Sargasuli. Moreover two of the blasts took place next to Police station at Manak Chowk and Kotwali police thana. According to the charge sheet filed by the special investigation team (SIT), the eight bombs were detonated between 7.20 pm and 7.45 pm. All these places where blasts erupted on the fateful nightfall in the old city amidst the rush hour. 

The responsibility of these blasts was owned up by the Indian Mujahideen whose 11 members were involved in the barbaric act. 

The Special Operation Group and SIT initially investigated the case. Later the Rajasthan government had set up the anti-terror squad (ATS), which took over the investigation from SIT. The charge sheet was filed against the five accused who were arrested named as  Shahbaz Hussain, Mohammed Saif, Sarvar Azami, Saif-ur-Rahman and Salman.

While two of the accused Mohammad Atik and Sajid Chhota died in an encounter with police at Batla House, Delhi, in 2008. Last year Delhi police arrested one more accused Ariz Khan alias Junaid. Out of the 11 accused, three are still absconding. 

As many as eight FIRs were registered in the matter (four in Kotawali police station) and (four in Manak Chowk Police station) in the Jaipur old city under various sections of the IPC.

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