Updated: February 21, 2022 8:04:28 am
Four terror accused from Pune are among those who were convicted for their role in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts on Friday. Three of them — Asif Bashiruddin Shaikh of Kondhwa Khurd, Mohammad Akbar Islami Choudhary of Mitha Nagar, Kondhwa and Fazal E Rahman Khan — were sentenced to death on Friday. The fourth convicted accused, Anik Sayyad of Pune, was awarded a life sentence.
As many as 22 bombs had exploded in the span of an hour in Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, killing 56 people and leaving over 200 injured. A special court in Ahmedabad had convicted 49 accused and acquitted 28 others in this case earlier. Of the 49 convicts, 38 were sentenced to death on Friday.
A software engineer from Pune, Mohammed Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy, who was accused of being the leader of the ‘media wing’ of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, is among the 28 acquitted in the serial blasts case. Along with Peerbhoy, a resident of Pune Camp area, one more accused, Mubeen Kadar Shaikh of Kondhwa, has been acquitted in this case.
One of the three from Pune sentenced to death, Asif Shaikh, is a mechanical engineer. He has been named as an accused in two more terror cases in Mumbai and Delhi. Akbar Chaudhary has also been named as an accused in four more terror cases in Mumbai, Delhi, Mangaluru and Hyderabad. He has also been sentenced to death in the 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts, in which 44 persons were killed. He is alleged to be a top operative of IM.
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Mohammed Peerbhoy and Mubeen Shaikh, the two Pune residents acquitted in the Ahmedabad serial blasts case, have been named as accused in two more terror cases in Mumbai and Delhi.
A computer engineer, Peerbhoy was 32 at the time of his arrest in 2008 and was working as the principal software engineer in the subsidiary of a tech giant in Pune.
Investigators had alleged that Peerbhoy headed the media wing of IM and he sent emails to media houses before the Ahmedabad and Delhi serial blasts by hacking the unsecured Wi-Fi network at three spots in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. He had also moved an application to turn approver before a special court in Mumbai, but later withdrew it.
His father Mohammed Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy passed away in Pune on Saturday. “The family was happy after Mansoor Peerbhoy was acquitted in the terror case nearly 14 years after his arrest. But his father died of a heart attack today. His last rites were performed on Saturday afternoon,” said activist Anjum Inamdar of the Mulnivasi Muslim Manch.
Another accused acquitted by the court, Mubeen Shaikh, was pursuing computer science at the time of his arrest. A resident of Pune Camp area, he was also arrested in 2008 along with other terror suspects. He was alleged to be a member of the IM media cell.
Meanwhile, investigation agencies had claimed that after Peerbhoy’s arrest, the terror outfit IM had allegedly handed over his “job in the media wing” to another Pune-based techie Aijaz Shaikh, who was arrested in 2014 from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh by the Delhi Police’s special cell and awarded the death sentence for his role in the Dilsukhnagar twin blasts in Hyderabad.
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