March 24, 2023

2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts: 38 convicts get death sentence; life imprisonment until death for 11 | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A special court in Ahmedabad on Friday pronounced death sentence to 38 out of 49 convicts in 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case, giving life imprisonment until death to 11 others.
More than 13 years after the first arrest was made, the special court had held 49 people guilty of carrying out a terror strike in Ahmedabad.
On July 26, 2008, 19 bombs rocked the city and killed 56 people and injured more than 200 others.
While convicting 49 people, including former Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) leader Safdar Nagori,
the court has acquitted 28 accused people and granted pardon to approver, Aiyaz Saiyed, by dropping charges against him. Out of 28 people acquitted, the court said that it did not find evidence against them, while 16 others were given benefit of doubt by saying that evidence presented against them was not adequate.
Out of the 28 acquitted, 27 people had spent nearly 13 years in jail. One of them, Naved Qadri, was released on temporary bail on account of his suffering from schizophrenia.
In this terrorist strike, hospitals were targeted for the first time in the country. In a blast that took place at the Civil Hospital, 37 people lost their lives. They included some who had rushed to the hospital to donate blood to the injured victims who were brought to the hospital for treatment.
One blast also took place at LG Hospital, but none was injured there.
The trial was conducted by the court after merging 35 different cases registered against the accused in Ahmedabad and Surat. There were 20 FIRs lodged in Ahmedabad for the bomb blasts and 15 registered in Surat as 29 unexploded bombs were recovered from various parts of the city a couple of days after the terror strike in Ahmedabad.
Then an unknown outfit, Indian Mujahideen (IM), had claimed the responsibility of the terror strike and termed the act as reprisal of the 2002 riots. The police claimed that IM was formed by some of the members of the prohibited outfit, SIMI.
The prosecution examined more than 1,100 witnesses in this case. There were 26 witnesses who were marked as star witnesses and the court as well as the government ensured special provisions for concealment of their identities for their safety. Four of the accused were treated as approver by admitting their confessions, though they fought a legal battle asserting their retractions at a later stage. One of the accused offered to turn an approver and his request was accepted by the court.
The special court heard the case in the Sabarmati central jail in initial days, but most part of the prosecution took place through videoconferencing only. The trial took place amidst various controversies and hindrances. One of them was the alleged attempt by 24 accused in this case to escape from jail.
On February 11, the jail authorities came across a 213-foot long tunnel already dug up from the Chhota Chakkar area in the jail.

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