A special NIA court handed the death sentence to four out of nine SIMI terrorists convicted of triggering the 2013 serial blasts that killed six people and injured 89 during then PM candidate Narendra Modi’s rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan. The court of additional district and sessions Judge Gurvinder Singh Malhotra sentenced two of the other convicts to life imprisonment and gave the rest jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years.
Haider Ali alias Black Beauty, Numan Ansari, Mujibullah Ansari and Imtiaz Ansari are the four who were handed capital punishment for masterminding and executing the serial blasts. Their associates Umer Siddique and Azharuddin Qureshi got life terms. Barring Numan, each of them is already serving life for the Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi blasts whick took place a little over three months before the October 27, 2013, Gandhi Maidan attack.
Ahmad Hussain and Mohammad Feroz Aslam got a 10-year term each while Mohammad Ifteqaar Alam was sentenced to seven years in jail. A juvenile convicted separately for the same crime is currently in a remand home in connection with a case lodged against him in Chhattisgarh.
The NIA court had acquitted one of the accused, Fakkruddin, for lack of evidence while pronouncing its verdict on October 27. The banned SIMI had originally planned a suicide bombing to target PM Modi, who was then the Gujarat CM, the investigation revealed. A total of 14 unexploded bombs were found at the rally venue later.
According to the NIA’s findings, Umer headed SIMI in Chhattisgarh while Haider was the terror outfit’s Jharkhand chief. The duo, in collaboration with Azharuddin and others, held several meetings in Raipur and Ranchi to plan the terror attacks.
Special public prosecutor Lallan Prasad Sinha said the quartet on death row had ferried the bombs from Ranchi by bus and planted them at the rally ground.
Sinha said the NIA had sought the death penalty for Umer and Azharuddin, too, but the court showed leniency as both had confessed to their crime and had a limited role in the conspiracy. The court slapped a fine of Rs 90,000 each on Haider, Numan and Mujibullah and Rs 80,000 on Imtiaz.
Umer and Azharuddin were fined Rs 60,000 each while Ahmad and Ifteqaar were told to pay Rs 10,000 each, failing which their jail terms will increase by a month.