January 20, 2006

Two LeT men, 5 others convicted


NEW DELHI, Jan 17: Two Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were among seven men convicted by a Delhi Court today in connection with bomb blasts which rocked various north Indian cities in 1997 killing 17 persons and injuring nearly 300 others.
The Pakistanis — Azad Mohammed and Mohd Hussain — were held guilty of conspiring with Amir Khan, Mohd Shakil and Abdul Bagi for waging war against the country. They were also convicted under the Foreigners Act.
The other two accused Mohd Umar Ali and Mohd Abdul Qasim were also held guilty for conspiring with them to trigger as many as 37 blasts in Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi on different occasions in 1997.
All the accused except Bagi have been found guilty under various provisions of the Explosives Act.
"The identical nature of all the blasts confirmed that they were planned by the same group who had acted in pursuance of a common intention", Additional Sessions Judge Rajiv Mehra observed.
Besides, the fact that same chemicals and explosive substances were used proves beyond doubt the complicity of the convicts, the judge added. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence tomorrow.
Police had arrested all the accused from a hide-out in Sadar Bazar area in North Delhi on February 27, 1998 and seized 50 kg chemicals used for making bombs, 2,200 US dollars, Rs 70,000 and some incriminating documents.
The court had in 1993 convicted eight other accused after they pleaded guilty while five others were discharged for "want of sufficient evidence" against them.
The trial of the case was held under tight security at the Tihar Jail.
The kingpin of the blasts Abdul Karim, alias Tunda and a key agent of the ISI in Delhi, Haryana and UP, is still absconding. He is also wanted in connection with 1993 Bombay serial blasts.
The role of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Pakistani-Inter Service Intelligence was revealed following the interrogation of five ISI activists in December 1997.
Investigations revealed that the accused had formed a nexus with Punjab militants in Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra and Sirsa districts of Haryana for executing their plan.
Most of the bombs were planted in busy and congested places, in trains and buses to create panic among the people.
Those convicted in the case after they pleaded guilty are Mohd Mati ur Rehman, Akbar, Abdul Rehman, Masood Ahmed, Safidul Islam, Mohd Ishtiaq, Mehmood and Ahmed Hussain.
Himan Sheikh, Shemim Akhtar, Sheikh Hussain, Tasleem and Naimuddin are the accused who were discharged for want of evidence.(PTI)

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