A special NIA court in Kolkata on Friday sentenced 19 people, convicted in the 2014 Burdwan blast case on Wednesday, to varying jail terms. Those sentenced include four Bangladeshi nationals, who received a jail term of ten years. The punishments for the remaining convicts range from 6-10 years.
“Four Bangladeshis have been sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Three others, including two women, have been charged for six years, while the rest have been sentenced to eight years imprisonment. These 19 convicted had pleaded guilty. So far, they have accepted the punishment and it seems they won’t appeal to a higher court,” said NIA counsel Shyamlal Ghosh.
“The punishment ranges from 6-10 years in the case. Four Bangladeshi nationals have been given maximum punishment by the court. They have been convicted under the Foreigners Act. According to the order, once their punishment period runs out, they will be sent back to Bangladesh,” said MD Abu Salem, the counsel for the accused.
The accused also include a student from Assam. “The one from Assam is a student and hence has been convicted to six years of imprisonment,” said another counsel who did not want to be named.
The NIA has so far taken 31 people into custody in connection with the case, while charges were framed against 33. The 19 accused who were convicted had pleaded guilty.
The 19 were convicted under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 125 (wages or attempts to wage war against the government of any Asiatic power in alliance or at peace with the government of India), the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act. The Bangladeshi citizens were also convicted under the Foreigners Act.
The blast, which took place on October 2, 2014 in a two-storey residence in Khagragarh, killed two people. According to agencies, it was accidental.The NIA took charge of the investigation in 2014 and submitted its first charge sheet in March 2015.
The explosion blew the lid off a flourishing network of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh in Bengal, especially in the districts of Burdwan, Birbhum and Nadia.