2008 serial blasts accused’s plea against Gujarat rejected

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Gandhinagar, April 5 (IANS) A designated court on Thursday rejected a plea by three accused in 2008 serial blasts case in Gujarat, seeking contempt proceedings against the Gujarat government for causing delays in their trial.

The Ahmedabad serial blast in 2008 had claimed as many as 57 lives in 22 bomb blasts that took place in a span of two hours in the city on the evening of July 26.

An over 2000-page chargesheet was filed by the local police against 26 people and listed 50 absconders therein. The Gujarat High Court had designated the Ahmedabad City Sessions Court for conducting the serial blasts case proceedings.

Out of the five accused, Usman Agarbattiwala, Raziuddin Nasir and Imran Sheikh had filed a plea before the court to issue a showcause notice to the prosecution, the Gujarat government, and sought assurance that it would summon witnesses without any delay.

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The petitioners also sought initiating contempt of court proceedings against the state government for what they described as “deliberate delay” in running the trial.

Against this plea, the prosecution stated that there had been no deliberate attempt by the state government to delay the proceedings and that application by the accused ought to be rejected as the applicants were “not at all trustworthy”.

Terming it as “baseless and without any merit”, the designated court on Thursday rejected the plea by the accused. The court also observed that there had never been a deliberate delay by the prosecution and hence rejection of the application.

Despite the charge-sheet of the case being filed in 2008, as there had been a stay on the trial of the case and after the Supreme Court vacated the stay, the proceedings began only post July 2011.

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More than a thousand witnesses have been examined by the prosecution since then. Still the prosecution is yet to question any of the 26 identified star or secret witnesses in the case. The accused of the serial blast want the process to be speeded up as they had been lodged in jails as undertrials since their arrest.

All the accused were charged under Explosive Substances Act, Damage to Public Property Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, IT Act and Section 120(1A) of the IPC for waging war against the state, Section 153(A) that refers to creating rift between two communities, Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 302 of IPC (murder).

–IANS

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