A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday sentenced Anique Syed and Akbar Ismail Choudhary to death for planting the bombs at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat eatery at Koti which killed 43. Meanwhile, Tariq Anjum, the third convict, has been awarded life imprisonment.
On September 4, after 11 years of trial the court had convicted Anique and Akbar saying that they were guilty of planting bombs at the two locations which went off on August 25, 2007. The court had posted the announcement of quantum of punishment for today.
NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor K Surender said that the court gave the two convicts three counts of death sentence– in the two cases of planting bombs at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park, and in the third case of the unexploded bomb at Dilsukhnagar. Tariq Anjum, who gave shelter to, the masterminds of the operation, Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal was sentenced to life in jail.
Earlier in the day, before pronouncing the sentence, the judge asked the convicted men if they had anything to say. While Anique and Akbar said that they were implicated falsely by police, Tariq said that he did not know the Bhatkal brothers and they never stayed with him. The Prosecution argued that they were all aware of what they were doing and demanded death punishment.
The defendants’ counsel later told the court that they were acting like robots under the guidance and brainwashing of someone and appealed for leniency in punishing them. The court acquitted Mohammed Sadiq and Ansar Ahmed as the prosecution could not prove that they were involved in planting the bombs at the two locations, NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor K Surender said. Three other accused, Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal and Amir Raza remain absconding, and the court observed that if they are arrested the case would continue against them.