HYDERABAD: In the first-ever conviction of members of the Indian Mujahideen [IM] in a terror case, a special court for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases on Tuesday convicted five persons including terror kingpin Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal for their role in two terror blasts in Dilsukhnagar locality of Hyderabad in 2013.
Sidibappa (33) of Bhatkal, Karnataka, Asadullah Akthar (31) of Azamgarh in UP, Zia-ur Rahman of Pakistan (26), Mohammed Tahseen Akhtar (27) of Samastipur, Bihar, and Ajaz Shaikh (29) of Pune, Maharashtra will have their sentences read out on Dec. 19.
The prime accused in the case, Riyaz Bhatkal, is still at large.
The five men were arrested a while after they carried out the twin blasts, separated by 10 seconds, on the evening of On February 21, 2013 at a bus stop in Dilsukhnagar and at a shopping centre. Eighteen people were killed in the blasts and 131 were injured.
A special court set up for the trial of the case at the Cherlapally central prison found the accused persons guilty of all the charges framed against them. These include murder, waging war against the country, procuring arms to indulge in terrorist activities and others. The cases against them were booked under Sections 302, 307, 324, 326, 124 A, 153 A and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, Sections 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The trial began in August 24 last year and the final arguments concluded last month. The prosecution produced 157 witnesses, 486 exhibits, and 173 material objects in court during the trial.
Special public prosecutor Surender Rao told the media that the minimum punishment the five might get is life and the maximum capital punishment. He said prosecution will pitch for maximum punishment, "this beingh a heinous crime."
An elated NIA director-general Sharad Kumar said, "It was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely."
How it unfolded, as per NIA
1. Indian Mujahideen hatches conspiracy to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people. Riyaz Bhatkal's module is chosen for the task.
2. Using proxy severs, the module communicates chats on the Internet about planning, scouting hideouts, purchasing materials for the bombs.
3. Main operative Riyaz Bhatkal directs associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a safe place in Mangalore to store explosive materials to be sent by him.
4. The materials are sent by Riyaz through an unknown person. He sends money by way of hawala and other channels.
5. Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas reach Hyderabad and start working with Tahseen Akhthar alias Monu, who is already living there in the Abdullapurmet area.
6. Afte the explosive materials are received in Hyderabad, a test blast is conducted on a hillock near Abdullapurmet.
7. Two IEDs are prepared and mounted on two bicycles, bought for the purpose, on Feb. 21, 2013.
8. They are planted at two separate places in Dilsukhnagar. Blast kills 18 people at a bus stop and a shopping centre.
9. The module makes a getaway. Yasin Bhatkal, who too was involved in the planning, harbours Asadullah Akhthar after the incident.