ELEVEN YEARS after the twin bomb blasts at Gokul Chaat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, a special court on Tuesday convicted two Indian Mujahideen operatives while acquitting two others. Three others accused in the case, including Riyaz Bhatkal, are absconding.
The special NIA court held Aneeq Syed and Akbar Ismail Choudhary guilty of conspiring and planting the bombs at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat. Mohammed Sadiq and Ansar Ahmed were acquitted as the prosecution could not prove that they were involved in planting the bombs, said NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor K Surender.
The quantum of punishment as well as the judgment on Amir Raza, accused of providing shelter to Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal after the blasts, is expected to be pronounced on Monday. Raza, Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal are absconding.
The case dates back to August 25, 2007, when two synchronised blasts rocked Gokul Chaat, a popular eatery, killing 32 people, and the laser show auditorium at Lumbini Park, where 10 people died. More than 50 people were injured in the two blasts. An unexploded bomb was also recovered from Dilsukhnagar area the same night.
While the Counter Intelligence Cell of then Andhra Pradesh Police was investigating the case, the Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested the four suspected Indian Mujahideen operatives — Aneeq Syed, Akbar Ismail Choudhary, Mohammed Sadiq and Ansar Ahmed — in connection with another case in October 2008.
During interrogation, the suspects are reported to have admitted their involvement in the Hyderabad blasts. They were brought to Hyderabad in February 2009, and charged under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and Explosive Substances Act.
The chargesheet filed by the Andhra Pradesh Police said the four suspects had confessed their involvement in the twin blasts, saying they wanted revenge for the blast at Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. According to the chargesheet, Riyaz Bhatkal was the mastermind behind the blasts and planted the bomb at Gokul Chaat, Aneeq Syed planted the bomb at Lumbini Park, and Akbar Ismail Choudhary planted the third bomb which did not explode.
On April 8, 2014, a metropolitan court framed charges against the four accused. Due to security reasons, a special court was set up at the Cherlapally Jail, where the four accused were lodged. The court was earlier supposed to deliver the verdict on August 27, but postponed it for today.