Special POTA Court Finds Ten Accused Guilty in 2002-03 Blasts

A special POTA court announces the verdict on the 2002-03 Mumbai blasts on 29 March.

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(Picture Courtesy: iStock Photo)

The verdict on the triple bomb blasts that happened in Mumbai from December 2002 to March 2003 has been announced by a special Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA) court on Tuesday, March 29.

A total of 10 of the accused have been announced guilty, while 3 – Nadeem Paloba, Harun Lohar and Adnan Mulla – have been acquitted. The court of Special Judge PR Deshmukh convicted the 10 under various sections of POTA, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and Railways Act. The quantum of sentence would be announced on Wednesday by the court.

According to the Mumbai Police, members of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was responsible for the blasts. The group that orchestrated the explosions was allegedly headed by Saquib Nachan, the former general of SIMI.

Nachan collected men, firearms, ammunition and material for preparing bombs and arranged for training of the Muslim youths with the intention of waging war or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India.
Mumbai Police chargesheet against Nachan

Nachan was arrested, along with 16 other people that include Dr Anwar Ali, a PhD degree holder who taught Urdu at National Defence Academy, Pune.

The first blast happened on 6th December, 2002, followed by another on 27th January, 2003, and the last one on 13th March, 2003. A total of 12 people died while 27 were injured according to official reports.

The Mumbai police chargesheet claimed SIMI’s motives included declaring war against the National Government in response to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat communal riots of 2002.

Other than Nachan, police also believed that two Pakistani nationals, Abu Sultan and Abu Anwar Ali, and a Kashmiri man, one Mohammed Iqbal Wani – allegedly members of Lashar-e-Taiba – were also involved.

A total of 15 out of those initially arrested, including Nachan, were granted bail by the court in 2011. Muzammil Ansari, originally an mechanical engineer, is one of the accused still in jail, and has been repeatedly denied bail.

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