A special NIA court here on Tuesday awarded death penalty to seven ISIS operatives in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train blast case in which nine people had got seriously injured. Another accused in the 2017 case was awarded life imprisonment. Those who were awarded death sentence included convicts Mohd Faisal, Gaus Mohd Khan, Mohd Azhar, Atiq Muzaffer, Mohd Danish, Mohd Sayyed Meer Hussain and Asif Iqbal alias Rokey. Mohd Atif alias Asif Irani was given life imprisonment.
Pronouncing the sentence, Judge V S Tripathi observed that the case fell in the rarest of rare category and as such the convicts were entitled to the severest punishment.
The court had convicted the accused on February 24 and fixed Tuesday for pronouncement of its verdict. It had found the accused guilty under sections 121, 121A, 122, 123 of IPC, sections 17, 18, 18A, 18B, 23, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 3/25/35 of the Arms Act.
On quantum of sentence, the convicts had pleaded that they had already been in jail for over five years and as such the court must show leniency in awarding sentence to them. Refuting the plea of convicts, the court said that the convicts waged war against the country and hence they were not entitled to any leniency.
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The court sent the case file to the Allahabad High Court of those who have been awarded death penalty for confirmation of the capital sentence as it is the law that the death penalty can be executed only after confirmation by the high court.
According to special public prosecutors M K Singh and K K Sharma, an FIR in the case was registered with ATS police station in Lucknow on March 8, 2017. The ATS had received information that members of banned terror outfit ISIS were planning to conduct blasts at different places in the country. The ATS’ Kanpur unit first arrested Mohd Faisal and later on other accused were nabbed. The state counsel said that the accused had conducted a test blast at Ganga Ghat in Unnao. In the probe, it also came out that the accused had planted a bomb on Kanpur-Unnao railway track. They had also planted bombs at different places during Dussehra. The accused wanted to go to Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Mumbai via Pakistan and Afghanistan to commit act of terrorism, according to the probe findings.
The charge sheet was filed in the case on August 31, 2017.
In the charge sheet, one more accused, Saifullah, was named but he was killed in an encounter in Dubagga area of Lucknow.