Other States

Two convicted in 2007 Lucknow serial blasts case

More than a decade after the civil court in Lucknow was hit by serial blasts, two persons accused in the case were on Thursday convicted by a special court here.

Special judge Babita Rani, who heard the case in district jail Lucknow, concluded that Azamgarh resident Mohammad Tariq Qasmi and Mohammmad Akhtar, who hailed from Ramban in Jammu and Kashmir, were guilty.

On November 23, 2007, two blasts took place in the premise of the Lucknow civil court—while one blast took place near a banyan tree the second one hit a cycle stand. No casualties were reported.

Similar blasts were reported on the same day in Gorakhpur, Faizabad and Varanasi.

According to the Uttar Pradesh police, the two accused were allegedly active members of banned terror outfit, HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islam).

The UP police Special Task Force had claimed to pick up Qasmi along with another accused Khalid Mujahid from Barabanki on December 22, 2007, while Akhtar was shown arrested six days later from his home state.

Mujahid died in police custody under mysterious conditions in May 2013 during the course of the trial while being transported from Barabanki court to Lucknow jail. A fourth accused had already been acquitted.

The STF had claimed that Qasmi and Mujahid were arrested with explosive substances- gelatin rods, detonators and RDX- from the Barabanki Railway station. However, the one-man probe commission under retired judge R.D Nimish formed by the BSP government had noted discrepancies in the police versions and concluded that the arrests were “suspicious” and incongruous with the facts narrated in the FIR.

The accused faced charges under criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, waging a war against nation, along with several other clauses of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosives Substances Act.

UP Anti-Terror Squad Inspector General Aseem Arun said the two accused were convicted on the evidence that the explosives recovered from them after their arrest was similar to the one used in the blasts, and on the basis of finger print match at the blast site, electronic surveillance and other circumstantial evidence.

“With the help of mobile surveillance, local intelligence and informants they came under grasp, and upon inspection of their mobile numbers it was found that they would converse with the HUJI commander in Kashmir. The documents and explosives recovered from them confirmed their involvement,” Mr. Arun said.

The quantum of punishment would be announced by the court on August 27. After the conviction, UP DGP O.P Singh had requested the government to hold special courts for speedy trials in terror cases.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 4:13:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-convicted-in-2007-lucknow-serial-blasts-case/article24773339.ece

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