Arms Haul Case: 26/11 Accused Abu Jundal, 6 Others Get Life Terms
On 8 May 2006, Maharashtra ATS seized 30kg RDX, 10 AK-47 rifles, 3,200 bullets and arrested three terror suspects.
The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai sentenced 7 out of 12 convicts including Abu Jundal to life imprisonment in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case.
Besides Jundal, six other convicts – Mohammed Aamir Sheikh, Billal Ahmed, Sayed Akif, Afroz Khan, Mohammed Aslam Kashmiri and Faizal Ataur Rehman (who is on death row in the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings case) – were handed down life sentences by designated Judge Shrikant Anekar.
Pronouncing the sentence, the court said that all the seven convicts will be imprisoned for their (natural) lives.
Also, two other convicts – Mohammed Mujaffar Tanvir and Dr Mohammed Sharif – were handed out 14 years of imprisonment while three others, Mushtaq Ahmed, Javed Ahmed and Afzal Khan, were awarded eight years each.
The court said that this was a larger conspiracy to strike terror by the accused under the name of jihad. Accused Feroz Deshmukh and Samad Sheikh named Zakir Naik, saying his speeches inspired them, but the court did not rely on these confessions.
The main target of the terrorists who were also arrested in the arms haul case were Narendra Modi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Pravin Togadia. The planned attack may also have been in retaliation to the 2002 violence in Godhra, Gujarat, reports CNN News18.
The Arms Haul Case
On 8 May 2006, a Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) team chased a Tata Sumo and an Indica car on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad, arrested three terror suspects and seized 30kg of RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets.
The Indica, allegedly driven by Jundal, managed to give police the slip.
Jundal, who hails from Beed district of Maharashtra, drove to Malegaon and escaped to Bangladesh a few days later. From there, he fled to Pakistan, according to the state police. He was deported to India from Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The Mumbai special court framed charges against the 22 arrested accused in August 2013.
The decade-long trial was stayed by the Supreme Court for a while after one of the accused challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of MCOCA. The stay was vacated in 2009.
In August 2015, the Bombay High Court directed the lower court to expedite the trial. During the trial, the prosecution examined 100 witnesses, while defence lawyers examined 16.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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