Updated: September 4, 2021 11:11:29 am
More than 13 years since serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, allegedly carried out by the Indian Mujahideen, that killed 56 persons and injured at least 200 others, a special trial court in Ahmedabad on September 2 reserved its judgment for pronouncement.
The prosecution had put forth its final arguments before the court of Judge Ambalal R Patel, who has been specially designated for the speedy trial of the bomb blast cases from December 2020 until March this year, that is over a period of nearly three-and-half months and the accused had submitted their final arguments from March until August, that is over a period of six months. The trial commenced in April 2010, nearly two years after the blast that occurred on July 26, 2008. Arrests of the accused, numbering in 78 now, continued from 2008 up until 2017.
Twenty six bombs had gone off in Ahmedabad that day at various spots including the state government-run Civil hospital and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run LG hospital, near buses, and on parked cycles, in a span of over an hour, killing 56 persons.
The trial had culminated based on a total of 35 cases registered — 20 at Ahmedabad and 10 in Surat, where similar bombs were found a couple of days after the Ahmedabad bombings, but they did not go off. The prosecution examined 1,163 witnesses over the course of the trial and submitted approximately 6,000 documentary proof, while the accused examined eight witnesses. Notably, in October last year, the trial court had rejected an application by the accused who had sought that the defence be permitted to examine editors, reporters and photographers of certain newspapers at the time, who had reported on the event, including that of The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the special court on September 2 rejected an application by the accused objecting to the submission of written memorandum (a written form of final arguments) by the prosecution, with the court directing that the same be taken on record along with a written ‘points at a glance’ (a written format of final arguments) document submitted by the defence.
In 2015, the prosecution had submitted before the trial court that they be permitted to show photographs of the concerned accused to panch witnesses for identification of the accused as the appearance of the accused had changed.
The court had however rejected this request, observing that permitting photographs for identification may result in helping the prosecution and as a court, it cannot help either of the parties. The court had also opined that identification of the accused “is the rule of prudence and not a rule of law.” The rejection was appealed against by the state government before the Gujarat High Court where Justice BN Karia on August 5 dismissed the state’s petitions and held that the trial court had not erred in rejecting the prosecution’s application.
As many as 24 of the accused in the serial bombings case were also booked in the jail break attempt case in February 2013 against whom charge sheets have been filed.
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