Four convicted, one acquitted in 2008 Jaipur blasts case that killed 71

The explosions left about 200 injured; quantum of sentence to be pronounced on December 20.

Updated - December 18, 2019 10:34 pm IST

Published - December 18, 2019 01:35 pm IST - Jaipur

The site of a blast in Jaipur on May 13, 2008.

The site of a blast in Jaipur on May 13, 2008.

Four persons were convicted by a special court in Jaipur on Wednesday for the serial blasts that ripped through the Walled City on May 13, 2008, killing 71 persons and leaving about 200 injured. One of the five accused, charged with sending an e-mail claiming responsibility for the blasts, was acquitted.

Those held guilty of planting the bombs and carrying out explosions were Mohammed Saif, Mohammed Sarwar Azmi, Saifur Rehman and Mohammed Salman. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Friday after hearing the arguments of prosecution and the defence counsel.

The four were convicted under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosives Act in eight cases registered by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Rajasthan police.


Shahbaz Hussain, a resident of Lucknow who was the first to be arrested three months after the blasts, was acquitted in all the cases after being given the benefit of doubt.

The eight locations targeted in the series of nine synchronised bomb blasts were the Manak Chowk police station, Badi Chaupad, Kotwali police station, Tripoliya Bazaar, Chandpole Hanuman temple, National Handloom in Johari Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupad and Sanganeri Gate Hanuman temple. They are situated within a 2-km radius in the densely populated city.

The court pronounced the judgment in the presence of the blast accused amid tight security in the Bani Park District Courts Complex. Heavy police force was deployed in and around the court building to maintain law and order and ensure security of the accused. Three accused - Yasin Bhatkal, Asadullah Akhtar, and Mohammed Aariz - are at present lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi, facing trial in other blast cases. Two accused were killed in the controversial Batla House encounter in Delhi on September 29, 2008, while three others are absconding.

According to the charge-sheet filed by the ATS, the bombs were strapped to bicycles, contained ammonium nitrate with ball bearings, and were wired to timing devices. They were packed with metal splinters or ball bearings to inlict heavy damage in the crowded areas.

Shahbaz, accused of sending the e-mail from a cyber cafe at Sahibabad in Uttar Pradesh, was consistently referred to as the mastermind of serial blasts in Jaipur and elsewhere till the Batla House encounter took place. The ATS later obtained the custody of other accused apprehended by the police forces of other States in Delhi and different towns in U.P.

The prosecution produced 1,272 witnesses in the special court, which was constituted after the Supreme Court's directions for speedy trial. The witnesses, who deposed and were cross-examined, included persons such as shopkeepers of the Walled City, policemen, owners of cycle stores, medical jurists, relatives of the deceased and the injured.

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said its fact-finding report released in 2008 had shown that Shahbaz was falsely arrested. “The conviction of four others is on flimsy grounds, as we heard the evidence and prosecution's arguments during the trial.We are certain that they will get justice in the higher courts,” PUCL-Rajasthan president Kavita Srivastava said.

Paker Farooq, counsel for the four convicts, said the material submitted by the ATS did not provide any “direct evidence” of their involvement in the horrific crime. “If the case against Shahbaz has fallen apart, there is no ground to prove that others were members of Indian Mujahideen and had come to Jaipur to conduct a recce and carry out the blasts,” he said.

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