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2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case: Judge sentences 38 convicts to death, 11 get life imprisonment

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A special court in Gujarat on Friday pronounced the death sentence to 38 of 49 convicts in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case. Eleven convicts have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

In this case, on behalf of the prosecution, the court had demanded the death penalty for all the culprits. At the same time, the defence had appealed for the least punishment in court.

Sessions Court Special Judge A.R. Patel, while pronouncing the verdict on February 8, had convicted 49 accused and acquitted 28 others for want of evidence and the prosecution failing to prove their guilt.

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In this incident, simultaneous bomb blasts had killed 56 persons in Ahmedabad and left over 200 injured. The blasts took place on July 26, 2008. The police registered 20 FIRs in Ahmedabad while 15 other FIRs were registered in Surat, where bombs were recovered from various places.

Both cases were merged for trial as police investigation claimed that “they were part of the same conspiracy” by terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen, a breakaway faction of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

The investigation was carried out by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Ahmedabad, which claimed that the motive behind the terror strikes was “avenging atrocities on Muslims during 2002 post-Godhra riots.”

A total 51 lakh-pages chargesheet were filed on the whole matter. In this, the testimony of 1,163 witnesses was kept valid.

Pronouncing the judgment, the Court awarded a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to those who had died in the blasts. The Court also awarded compensation of Rs 50,000 for victims with serious injuries and Rs 25,000 for those with minor ones.

Usman Agarbattiwala, the only one convicted under the Arms Act and among those sentenced to death, has been additionally awarded a year of imprisonment for conviction under the Arms Act.

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Agarbattiwala, with his additional sentence under Arms Act, has been imposed with a Rs 2.88 lakh-fine.

Sentences awarded to each of the 49 convicts under each section of the IPC, UAPA, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, will run concurrently. Additionally, the court has imposed a fine of Rs 2.85 lakh each on 48 convicts.

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