49 convicted, 28 acquitted in 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case

Verdict comes after protracted trial that lasted almost 13 years

February 08, 2022 12:11 pm | Updated February 09, 2022 02:15 pm IST - AHMEDABAD

Scene outside sessions court in Bhadra in Ahmedabad as verdict on 2008 serial blast case was announced on Tuesday, February 08, 2022.

Scene outside sessions court in Bhadra in Ahmedabad as verdict on 2008 serial blast case was announced on Tuesday, February 08, 2022.

After a protracted trial that lasted almost 13 years, a special court on Tuesday delivered its verdict, holding 49 guilty in the 2008 serial blasts case in which Ahmedabad was rocked by a series of bomb blasts that left 56 dead and 200 injured.

The court acquitted 28 other accused. As many as 77 faced trial in the case.

The special court will spell out the quantum of punishment on Wednesday.

The trial in the case ended in September last year. Special Judge A.R. Patel delivered the verdict in the most high-profile serial blasts case in Gujarat.

Earlier, the case was notified several times for pronouncement of judgment but was adjourned.

In 2008, after the serial blasts, the Gujarat Police busted a nationwide network of radical elements from a minority community, who where involved in carrying out serial blasts in the city.

The police said people associated with banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were allegedly involved in carrying out the serial blasts in which 56 innocent people were killed and over 200 sustained serious injuries.

The police had also alleged that the terrorists associated with IM had planned and executed the blasts in retaliation for the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

The blasts had occurred at several places, including the trauma centre of Ahmedabad’s civil hospital.

Consolidated case

The trial began after as many as 35 cases were merged and consolidated into one case. The FIRs were filed in Ahmedabad, where the blasts took place, and in Surat, where the police had recovered bombs from different locations after the blasts in Ahmedabad.

During the lengthy trial that saw many twists and turns, the prosecution examined over 1,100 witnesses before Special Judge Patel, who began the trial in 2009, a year after the blasts.

Besides murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy, the accused were slapped with charges under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The trial in this high-profile and sensitive case initially took place inside the Sabarmati central jail for security reasons and the proceedings were later conducted mostly through video-conferencing.

During the trial, as many as 26 witnesses were marked as star witnesses and the court as well as prosecution ensured special provisions for concealment of their identities for their safety and security.

Moreover, among the accused, four were treated as approvers, admitting their confessions in the crime, though they fought a legal battle subsequently asserting their retractions at a later stage.

One of the accused offered to turn approver and his request was accepted by the court during the trial.

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