A National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court in Kochi on Monday sentenced two persons to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and another to six years after they were found guilty in a 2005 terror case.
Last week, the NIA court found three persons guilty in the Kalamassery bus burning case, where the accused torched a bus in 2005, demanding People’s Democratic Party chairman Abdul Nasser Mahdani’s release, who was then an undertrial in the 1998 Coimbatore blast case.
The state police had probed the case initially, but NIA took over after the formation of the agency.
One of the convicted persons is suspected Lashar-e-Toiba militant Tadiyantavide Nazir, a former close aide of Mahdani, who had been involved in several terror cases in Kerala and elsewhere.
The court sentenced Nazir and another accused Sabir Buhari to seven years of rigorous imprisonment, while another accused Thajudeen was awarded a six-year term. Nazir also had to pay a fine of Rs 1.75 lakh.
They were booked under Sections 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences, like waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 16(1)(b) (punishment for the terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy, etc.) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
As per the prosecution’s case, a Tamil Nadu government-owned bus plying between Kochi and Salem was waylaid by a gang who forced passengers to get down and torched it at Kalamassery near Kochi on September 9, 2005. This was in retaliation to the delay in releasing Mahdani from jail.
The NIA charge sheet said the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy in the first week of September 2005 to wage war, strike terror, and damage government property in retaliation to the continued detention of Mahdani.
The NIA had charge sheeted 14 persons in 2010. One of the accused, Muhammed Sabir, a native of Kannur, is still absconding. Another accused Abdul Rahim was killed in an encounter with security forces at Kupwara in 2008.
The trial of other alleged accused in the case, including Mahdani’s wife, Sufiya, is pending in court.