The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Special Court on Wednesday sentenced Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel to life imprisonment in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case.
The court also asked for a report on the three men absconding in the case by March 26, 2017. The National Intelligence Agency, on March 8 had convicted three people in the Ajmer blast case. It had also acquitted 7 others, which included Swami Aseemanand.
Acquitted Aseemanand, is also an accused in the Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid blasts, and others, giving them the “benefit of doubt”. Twenty-six witnesses turned hostile during the trial.
The magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on Patel and Rs. 5,000 on Gupta, both of whom claimed innocence.
“We are innocent and it is a political conspiracy against us,” Gupta told the media while coming out of the court.
Apart from Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel, who received life sentences, was Sunil Joshi. Joshi, the leader of an alleged Hindu extremist group, was shot dead on December 29, 2007, when he was walking back to his hideout at Chuna Khadan locality in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.
Gupta and Patel had been convicted under the IPC for criminal conspiracy and various sections of Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act.
The conviction was made under Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC, 3 / 4 of Explosive Substances Act and Sections 16 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
A blast in the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti on October 11, 2007, at the time of Roza iftar, led to the killing of three pilgrims and left 15 others injured.
The case was handed over to the ATS Rajasthan and was later transferred to NIA which re-registered the case with the NIA police station in New Delhi on 6 April, 2011.
There were as many as 149 witnesses in the case and 451 documents were examined and the NIA filed three supplementary chargesheets in the case.