2008 Ahmedabad Serial Blasts: Gujarat Court To Start Hearing On Quantum Of Sentence On 11 February

by PTI - Feb 9, 2022 02:36 PM +05:30 IST
2008 Ahmedabad Serial Blasts: Gujarat Court To Start Hearing On Quantum Of Sentence On 11 February2008 serial blasts

Ahmedabad, Feb 9 (PTI) A special court here on Wednesday said it will begin hearing arguments on February 11 for deciding on the quantum of sentence for convicts in the case of 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts.

The hearing was deferred on Wednesday after a defence lawyer requested some time to gather documents before the court begins further proceedings in the case.

The court had on Tuesday convicted 49 people in the case related to the blasts which had claimed 56 lives and left over 200 injured.

In the verdict, which came 13 years after the deadly blasts, special judge A R Patel acquitted 28 accused, giving them the benefit of doubt.

As many as 20 explosions had ripped through the city on July 26, 2008.

On Wednesday, a defence lawyer submitted an application before the court, seeking three weeks' time to collect relevant documents from the convicts before the hearing on the quantum of sentence, special public prosecutor Amit Patel said.

Various documents, like medical papers and educational qualifications, will be used by the defence to present a case for seeking minimum sentence for the convicts.

'The court granted them time till tomorrow and kept the matter for Friday when it will hear the convicts and then the prosecution, before deciding on the quantum of sentence,' Patel told reporters.

The convicts can attract a maximum punishment of death or imprisonment for life, and the prosecution will argue for the maximum punishment.

Another special public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt said the court has directed the defence lawyers to collect the required documents from jails where the convicts are lodged by Wednesday evening.

The court also directed the jail authorities to help them, he said.

'A defence lawyer sought time, arguing that he has not been able to contact his clients due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court said the lawyers have argued their case and have the knowledge of relevant documents, but granted them a day's time in the interest of justice,' Brahmbhatt said.

The 49 accused were convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act and Damage to Public Property Act.

One accused was also convicted under the Arms Act.

They were convicted under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 121 (a) (conspiracy to wage war or attempt to wage war against the nation) and 124 (a) (sedition), among others, of the IPC, and Section 16(1)(a)(b) of the UAPA pertaining to terrorist acts.

Fifty six people were killed and 246 others injured after 20 bombs went off in different areas of Ahmedabad within a span of 70 minutes on July 26, 2008.

The court had concluded the trial against 77 accused in September last year. Earlier, out of the 78 accused on trial, one had turned approver.

The police had claimed that people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts.

It was alleged that the IM terrorists had planned these blasts as a revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in which several people from the minority community had died.

Days after the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, the police recovered bombs from different parts of Surat, following which 20 FIRs were registered in Ahmedabad and 15 in Surat.

The trial was conducted after the court merged all the 35 FIRs.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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