An NIA court in Patna on Friday found all five accused in the 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts case guilty. The court will pronounce the sentence in the case on May 31.
In the blasts on July 7, 2013, four bombs had exploded inside and near the Mahabodhi temple, injuring a devotee. The case was later handed over to the NIA that has also been investigating the Gandhi Maidan blast in Patna.
The court of additional district judge Manoj Kumar Sinha found all five accused — Umer Siddiqui (39), Azaharuddin Qureshi (25), Imtiyaz Ansari(35), Haider Ali (30) and Mujibullah Ansari (28) —guilty under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 153A (promoting enmity among different groups on grounds of religion, sect and place of birth) and various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act.
The five accused were brought to the Patna special court amid tight security from Beur Central jail and were not allowed to talk to the media after the verdict.
Special Public Prosecutor Lalan Prasad Sinha said: “The court was fully convinced with the material and corroborative evidence collected by the NIA”.
According to the NIA chargesheet, Haider Ali was mastermind for the blasts and it was Umer Siddiqui’s house in Raipur where the planning was done. Umer, it said, provided explosives for the blast. The sixth accused in the case was a juvenile and his case was heard by a Juvenile Justice Board.
The blast had created panic and had affected the flow of national and international tourists to the temple town till 2015.
A total of 90 prosecution witnesses had deposed before the trial court for cross-examination. Besides them, 12 other witnesses had also been examined by the special court, whose identities were withheld for security reasons.
Another serial blast attempt at the UNESCO heritage site was averted earlier this year when two live bombs were found near one of the gates of Mahabodhi temple.