A special court on Wednesday sentenced four persons to death in connection with the 2008 Jaipur bomb blasts which killed 71 people and injured 185 others.
Ajay Kumar Sharma, special judge for Jaipur bomb blast cases, sentenced Mohammad Saif alias Carryon, 32, Mohammad Sarwar Azmi alias Rajhans Yadav, 34, Saifur alias Saif ur Rehman Ansari, 32, and Mohammad Salman, 26, to death. All four are residents of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. On December 18, while convicting the four, the court had acquitted Shahbaz Hussain, 42, a resident of Lucknow. Around 4.15 pm, Sharma sentenced the four to death under IPC section 302 (murder) and section 16 (1a) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Detailing the sentencing, Special Public Prosecutor Srichand said the accused have been sentenced to death and fined Rs 50,000 each under IPC 302 and UAPA 16 (1a); to life imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine under UAPA 18 (punishment for conspiracy of a terrorist act, etc.), rigorous imprisonment for seven years and Rs 10,000 fine under IPC 307 (attempt to murder); imprisonment for three years and Rs 5,000 fine under IPC 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and rigorous imprisonment for five years and Rs 10,000 fine under IPC 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means).
The four, he said, have also been sentenced to imprisonment for one year and Rs 10,000 fine under IPC 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees); life imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine under IPC 121A (conspiracy to commit offence under IPC 121: waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the government of India); life imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine under IPC 124A (sedition); imprisonment for three years and Rs 50,000 fine under IPC 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.); life imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine under section 3 of the Explosives Act, 1908 (punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property) and rigorous imprisonment for seven years and Rs 50,000 fine under UAPA 13 (punishment for unlawful activities).”
The Special Public Prosecutor said the prosecution had presented nearly 1,300 witnesses due to which the trial took time. He said they will appeal against Shahbaz’s acquittal in the High Court.
Advocate Paker Farooq, amicus curiae for the four held guilty, said, “This is the first such case where death penalty has been awarded solely on the basis of circumstantial evidence. I cross examined all the witnesses and not a single one of them could point out and say that yes, one of these four had planted the bomb on a bicycle.”
Farooq claimed that there are several loopholes in the prosecution story. “They presented bills of purchase of bicycles which they claimed were used in the blasts. However, the frame number of the bicycles — as given in those bills — is different from the frame number of bicycles used in the blasts. Moreover, they deliberately did not cite strong evidence such as CCTV footage from around the locations, since this would have exonerated the four.”
“The Jaipur bomb blasts were unfortunate and many innocents died. However, since day one, we have been stating that these men were falsely implicated. We will definitely appeal against their acquittal in the High Court,” Farooq said.
On May 13, 2008, a total of nine bombs exploded in eight locations — all in Jaipur’s crowded old city — between 7.20 pm and 7.45 pm. The first of the IED blasts was near Manak Chowk. It was followed by blasts near Badi Chaupar, Johari Bazaar, near Hanuman temple at Sanganeri Gate, near Choti Chaupar, Tripolia Bazaar, in front of Kotwali police station, and two blasts near Hanuman temple at Chandpole. A live bomb was found on a bicycle near shop number 17, in front of Ramchandraji temple, Chandpole, which was defused.
A day after the blast, in an email sent to news channels and news agencies on May 14, 2008, the Indian Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Following the sentencing, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “A right decision has been taken on Jaipur serial blasts, this decision should be welcomed and it should be a lesson to those who believe in violence, no matter who they are.”
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