The NIA special court on Tuesday convicted five terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen, including Yasin Bhatkal in the 2013 Hyderabad blasts case in Dilsukhnagar of Hyderabad. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on December 19.
The five accused found guilty are Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, Bhatkal alias Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa, Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, Pakistani national Zia ur Rehman alias Waqas, and Ajaz Shaikh.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The alleged key conspirator, Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.
The court will announce the sentences for all the accused on December 19.
The final arguments in the case concerning the attack that also injured 131 people, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case began on August 24 last year.
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.
“A conspiracy to wage war”
In its charge sheet, the NIA claimed that the IM 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 its activities.
Key operative 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 to store explosive materials sent by him, the NIA alleged.
After receiving the materials sent by Riyaz through an unknown person, and the money sent by him by way of hawala and other channels, Akhtar and Waqas reached Hyderabad and started working with Tahseen Akhthar alias Monu, who had reached there and was living in a hideout in Abdullapurmet area, the NIA probe report claimed.
The three of them prepared two IEDs while staying there.
The other materials needed to make a bomb, including a pressure cooker and timers, were arranged in Hyderabad. After the bomb was made, on February 21, they mounted two IEDs on two bicycles (purchased by them for that purpose), and planted them in two separate places in Dilsukhnagar, it alleged.
The NIA investigation brought to evidence all the financial help received by the accused from abroad.
The NIA said it learnt that the miscreants, after procuring the explosive materials, conducted a test blast in a hillock near Abdullapurmet.
The main feature of the conspiracy was that the accused were communicating through the Internet, chatting with each other throughout the planning, finding suitable hideouts, purchasing materials for the bombs, until the final escape.
They were also found to have used proxy servers to hide their identity.
The role of Yasin Bhatkal in the planning, procurement of explosives and harbouring of Akhthar after the incident, was also unearthed, the NIA said.
During investigation, a total of 440 witnesses were examined and 251 documents and 300 material objects seized.
Extensive cyber forensic evidence was gathered and placed on record as evidence.