A Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced four Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives to 10 years in jail for hatching a criminal conspiracy to wage war against the government by carrying out terrorist attacks across the country in 2012. The judgement, however, paved the way for their release as all of them have already served as much time in jail.
Special Judge Shailender Malik awarded the punishment to Danish Ansari, Aftab Alam, Imran Khan and Obaid-Ur-Rehman under various sections of the IPC and the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The court, which had convicted the four on July 10, noted they had pleaded guilty to all the charges against them on July 7.
The special judge for terrorist cases noted the convicts were arrested in 2013, and directed the authorities concerned to release them against the period they have already served in prison, if their custody was not needed in other cases.
The judge also referred to the socio-economic report of the convicts and said they belonged to the lower strata of society.
Regarding Danish Ansari, the judge said he was not involved in any other criminal case, was young, and had completed class 12. He “intends to pursue normal, responsible life for being a better citizen of the country,” the court said.
“Therefore taking into consideration the fact that there has not been any criminal antecedent of this convict, this court in the interest of justice is giving an opportunity to convict Danish to conduct responsibly in future as a good citizen of country,” the judge said.
Noting that since the period of sentence awarded to him stood undergone on account of him being in judicial custody since January 21, 2013, Judge Malik directed the authorities to release him if not required in any other case.
About Aftab Alam, the judge observed he was in judicial custody since February 5, 2013 and directed setting off the jail term awarded to him against the period he had already served.
While awarding jail term to Imran, the judge noted he was in judicial custody since February 28, 2013 and said the time he has served in jail should be adjusted against the sentence awarded to him.
The judge said since the fourth convict – Qbaid Ur Rehman – was in judicial custody since March 18, 2013, the period of incarceration will serve the period of sentence awarded today.
The NIA had lodged a case against them in September 2012 under Sections 121A (conspiracy to wage war against government of India) and 123 (Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) of the IPC.
They were also charged under sections 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terror act), 18A (organising terrorist camps), 18B (recruiting persons for terrorist act) and 20 (being member of terror organisation) of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The counsel appearing for the convicts submitted they belonged to poor families and urged the court to take a lenient view while passing the order on sentence, besides keeping in mind the time they have already served and the fact that they have pleaded guilty.