A Jaipur court on Wednesday sentenced eight people, including three Pakistan nationals, to life imprisonment and imposed a penalty between Rs 11 lakh and 14 lakh on each of them for being members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and conspiring to carry out terror activities in India.
On November 30, the court of Additional District Judge, Jaipur Metro, Pawan Kumar, had found three Pakistan nationals — Asghar Ali, Mohammad Iqbal and Shakarullah — and Rajasthan residents Babu alias Nishachandra Ali, Arun Kumar Jain, Hafiz Abdul Majeed, Qabil Khan and Pawan Puri guilty under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
According to the order, all eight were found guilty under sections 13 (unlawful activities), 18 (conspiracy), 18 B (recruiting persons for terrorist act) and 20 (being a member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA. Babu and Pawan Puri were also found guilty under section 17 of the Act “for raising funds for terrorist act”.
“While Babu and Pawan were fined Rs 14 lakh each, the six others were fined Rs 11 lakh each,” Special Public Prosecutor Mahaveer Prasad Jindal said.
As per the FIR lodged at the Special Operations Group (SOG) police station in October 2010, the three Pakistan nationals lodged in jails incited others to get training at LeT camps in Pakistan and to carry out terror activities in India.
Jindal said that the three Pakistan nationals were “in constant touch with LeT commander” Waleed in Pakistan over the phone while they were in jail and received instructions from him.
The court also ordered a departmental inquiry against former “top officials” of jails where these people were lodged for lapses.
Jindal said that during incarceration, “Asghar influenced Babu and Pawan Puri and Babu in turn influenced Arun Jain, while Mohammad Iqbal and Shakarullah influenced Hafiz Abdul Majeed and Qabil Khan.” As many as 286 documents, 69 witnesses and 20 articles such as CDs were presented by the prosecution, he said.
Jindal said the men planned to carry out a terror act in Jaipur during Dussehra in 2010 and planned to attack Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, VHP president Praveen Togadia, “and other Hindu leaders.”
Stating that the conviction will be challenged in the High Court, Paker Farooq, advocate for Hafiz Abdul Majeed and some others, said, “There are several gaps in the prosecution’s story. First, there is no audio recording of Waleed anywhere and we don’t know if he exists.” The prosecution has specified a phone number as Waleed’s, and showed Nishachandra’s call detail records wherein he contacted that number at least eight times, but as per Farooq, no audio of those calls was shared in court.
“Second, they have not established how the inmates managed to get mobile phones. Third, they have not backed the locations of the phones — supposedly used to make calls from prison. Fourth, in the so called audio recording of Majeed, even if we assume it is authentic, there is not a single objectionable statement. Fifth, if money was received through Western Union, it does not mean that it is from LeT. They have failed to establish that crucial link…This was beyond the jurisdiction of the ADJ court,” he said.