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20-year jail for former Gujarat Minister for 1993 Surat blast

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1993 Surat blasts convicts (from left) Hussain Ghadiyali, Mushtak Ibrahim Patel, Mohammad Surti, Iqbal Vadiwalla and Yousuf Dadu, who were sentenced to 20 years in jail by a special TADA Court in Surat on Saturday.
1993 Surat blasts convicts (from left) Hussain Ghadiyali, Mushtak Ibrahim Patel, Mohammad Surti, Iqbal Vadiwalla and Yousuf Dadu, who were sentenced to 20 years in jail by a special TADA Court in Surat on Saturday.

Special Correspondent

TADA court hands the same sentence to five accomplices

AHMEDABAD: A former Congress minister of Gujarat and five others were on Saturday sentenced to 20-year imprisonment for their involvement in an April 1993 bomb blast in Surat, in which a school girl was killed and about 30 others were injured.

A special TADA court in Surat found Mohammad Surti and his accomplices guilty of the bomb blast and handed them the sentence. Seven others were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The accused were alleged to have used government vehicles to transport bombs and other equipment for the blast. The TADA court examined more than 300 witnesses and based its judgment on the Forensic Science Laboratory report on the blast.

In all, there were 24 accused, of whom at least five are still absconding, while one has died since then.

“Reprisal attack”

It was claimed that the bombs were exploded in a reprisal for the communal riots that broke out in the wake of the demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya in December 1992. The diamond and textile city of Surat was one of the worst affected in the riots. In April 1993, two bombs were exploded, one at the Surat railway station when the Gujarat Express was on the platform and the other near a school on Varacha Road, in which the schoolgirl was killed. All the accused are out on bail.

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