Key Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and 26/11 plotter Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal was among seven convicts sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. While two convicts have been sentenced to 14 years of jail, the remaining three have been given eight-year sentences.
The court had pronounced Jundal and 11 others guilty last week and had accepted the prosecution’s case that the aim of the convicted accused was to create terror in the minds of people and to eliminate public leaders like then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia.
A Maharashtra ATS team chased cars on Chandwad-Manmad Highway near Aurangabad on May 8, 2006 and arrested three terror suspects and seized 6 AK 47 rifkes, 3200 live cartridges, 43 kg of RDX and 50 hand grenades from Khultabad, Yeola and Malegaon area.
Jundal managed to give police the slip and drove to Malegaon and a few days later he escaped to Bangladesh from where he fled to Pakistan, according to the state police. Jundal’s name had resurfaced as the man whose voice was intercepted in the Karachi-based control room which had been giving instructions to the ten terrorists carrying out the 26/11 terror attack. In 2012, agencies had narrowed down his location to Saudi Arabia and had confirmed it through DNA samples taken from his family based in Beed. He was deported to India from Saudi Arabia in June 2012 and has been kept in Arthur Road jail since. The arrested accused were charged in August 2013.
Jundal was convicted under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act, Arms Act and for conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. The court confirmed his presence in one of the two cars in which the arms consignment was being transported. The court has also linked him to the larger terror conspiracy in the case.
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