Safdar Nagori, 17 SIMI cadres sentenced to 7-yr RI in Kerala

Safdar Nagori, 17 SIMI cadres sentenced to 7-yr RI in Kerala

A special NIA court here sentenced 18 SIMI members, including its leader Safdar Nagori, to seven years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) today, after they were found guilty of organising an arms training camp for the members of the banned outfit in Kerala in 2007.

Special NIA court Judge Kauser Edappagath also sentenced the convicts to varying terms of imprisonment under different sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Explosive Substances Act (ESA) and section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

They were sentenced to one-year RI under section 10 and five-year RI under section 38 of the UAPA, seven-year RI under section 4 of the ESA and seven-year RI under section 120-B, IPC.

Of the convicts, 13 were also found guilty under section 20 of the UAPA (punishment for being a member of a terrorist organisation/gang) and sentenced to seven years of RI.

The court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the 13 convicts found guilty under various sections, including section 20 of the UAPA.

A fine of Rs 50,000 each was slapped on the remaining five, who was found guilty under other sections.

The judge said the sentences would run concurrently and set-offs would be allowed.

Fourteen of the convicts, who have been in judicial custody for more than seven years, will get the benefit of set-off allowed by the court, a defence lawyer said.

Under section 428 of the CrPc, the period of detention undergone by an accused during investigation or trial will be set off against the period of his imprisonment.

The court had yesterday acquitted 17 others in the case.

The case was registered by the Kerala police against members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for organising an arms training camp at Thangalpara in Wagamon in December 2007.

According to the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the participants at the "secret training camp" had engaged themselves in physical training, firing practice, training in explosives, motorcycle racing, rope climbing, besides classes on "jihad" in India.

The court had rejected the NIA's charges against the accused under IPC sections 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against the Government of India), 124-A (attempts to spread disaffection towards the government) and 153-A (spread enmity between communities).

Besides Nagori (48), the others sentenced today were -- Saduli, P A Shibily, Mohammed Ansar and Abdul Sathar (all from Kerala); Hafeez Hussain, Mohammed Sami Bagevadi, Nadeem Sayeed, Dr H A Asadulla, Shakeel Ahammed and Mirza Ahmed Baig (Karnataka); Aamil Parwaz and Kamaruddin Nagori (Madhya Pradesh); Mufti Abul Bashar (Uttar Pradesh); Danish and Manzar Imam (Jharkhand); Mohammed Abu Faisal Khan (Maharashtra); and Alam Jeb Afridi (Gujarat).

Saduli, Hafeez Hussain, Safdar Nagori, P A Shibily, Mohammed Ansar, Abdul Sathar, Aamil Parwaz, Nadeem Sayeed, Dr H A Asadulla, Kamaruddin Nagori, Shakeel Ahammed, Mirza Ahmed Baig and Manzar Imam were also found guilty under section 20 of the UAPA.

Nagori, the founder member of the SIMI, is believed to have been radicalized after the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992.

Son of a policeman from Madhya Pradesh, his name had first surfaced in the police records in 1998 for alleged anti-national activities.

He continued playing "hide and seek" with the police till his arrest in Madhya Pradesh in 2008.

SIMI was banned in 2001 as a terror outfit for being "suppliers" of cadres to insurgent groups such as the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami to carry out terror activities in India and Afghanistan.

The case was originally registered at Mundakayam on June 21, 2008, and the probe was handed over to the NIA in January 2010.

The first charge sheet was filed in 2011, followed by supplementary charge sheets in 2013 and 2015, against 38 people.

The trial had commenced in January last year and 33 accused, lodged in prisons in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal and Bengaluru, were produced through video-conference, while two were produced in person.

One charge-sheeted accused, Wasik Billa, a resident of Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh, is absconding, while another, Mehboob of Madhya Pradesh, was killed by the police in an encounter in Bhopal in October 2016.

Another accused, Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tawqeer, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested in the case recently.

The prosecution had examined 77 witnesses, through whom 252 documents and 43 material objects got exhibited, while the defence had examined three witnesses during the trial.