2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case: 38 convicts sentenced to death, 11 to life imprisonment

A special court designated for the speedy trial of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts cases Friday sentenced 38 of the 49 convicted to death. The eleven others were sentenced to life in jail.

According to the defence lawyers, this is the highest number of convicts to be sentenced to death in a single case in India’s legal history.

2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case: 38 convicts sentenced to death, 11 to life imprisonment Shravan Borikar, who lost his wife Sunanda Borikar during the 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad, joins the celebration at Hatkeshwar after the trial court gave death sentence to 38 convicts on Friday. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The sentence for the 38 convicted was awarded under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 10 and 16 (1) (a) (b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). A fine of Rs 25,000 was also imposed on each of the 38 for each of the three offences.

The 11 others were sent to life in jail under IPC Section 302 and UAPA Sections 10 and 16 (1) (a) (b). A penalty of Rs 25,000 each was also imposed on them.

Express archive photo

Apart from the aforementioned provisions, all 49 convicted were also sentenced to life imprisonment under four provisions of the law — UAPA Section 20, Explosive Substances Act section 3 and IPC sections 124 A (sedition), 121 A (waging war against the state).

However, all the sentences shall be running concurrently.

One of the convicted, Mohammad Usman Agarbattiwala from Vadodara, who was the only one found guilty under the Arms Act’s Section 25(1)(B) (a), was awarded a year of imprisonment under the said provision.

Apart from sentencing the 49 convicted, the court also directed awarded compensation to the victims from the fine amount collected from those convicted. The court of special judge A R Patel directed payment of Rs 1 lakh for the 56 victims who died, Rs 50,000 for those who suffered serious injuries and Rs 25,000 for those who suffered minor ones.

Families of victims celebrate the verdict at Hatkeshwar, one of the blast sites, in Ahmedabad
(Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Each of the 48 convicts has to pay a Rs 2.85 lakh fine, while Agarbattiwala has to pay Rs 2.88 lakh.

As many as 22 bombs went off in Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, at various spots, including the state government-run civil hospital, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run LG Hospital, on buses, parked bicycles, in cars and other places killing 56 persons and leaving 200 injured. Of the total 24 bombs, one each at Kalol and Naroda did not go off.

The explosions, allegedly carried out by the Indian Mujahideen, believed to be a regrouping of the banned organisation, SIMI, used bombs combining ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO).

On February 8, the special court had declared the conviction of 49 of the total 78 accused in the case. Another 28 were acquitted and one accused Ayaz Saiyed turned approver in the case in 2019, supporting the prosecution’s case and has now been pardoned and acquitted of all charges.

11 of the 28 acquitted are out of jail as of date, while the 17 others continue to be in judicial custody owing to their requirement in other criminal cases.

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