Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and four others have been sentenced to death by a special NIA court in the Dilsukhnagar blasts case that claimed the lives of 18 people and injured 131 others on February 21, 2013, in Hyderabad.
This is the first case that any operative of the IM has been convicted.
Apart from Bhatkal, the other convicts are: Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, Pakistani national Zia ur Rehman alias Waqas and Ajaz Shaikh.
The NIA, which probed the case, concluded that the blasts were engineered by the IM operatives. Out of the six accused in the case, the investigating agency arrested five. Main accused Riyaz Bhatkal, alias Shah Riyaz Ahmad Mohammed Ismail Shahbandari, is absconding.
On November 7, the final arguments had concluded in the case before the NIA special court.
The court convicted Yasin Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
For the last one year, the trial had been going on in the special court at Cherlapally Central Prison on the outskirts of the city where the five accused are currently lodged. The NIA produced 158 witnesses, seized 201 pieces of material evidence and furnished over 500 documents in the court.
Six months after the blasts, Yasin and Asadullah were arrested from an area in Bihar close to the Nepal border. Three other accused were arrested subsequently and the NIA filed two chargesheets against the five accused.
An elated Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said “it was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres.”
“We will be appealing for maximum punishment for the culprits,” Kumar said.
In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit.
The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had alleged.