A special designated court on Tuesday will pronounce the judgement on Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case against 78 suspects who have been accused of killing 56 people and injuring hundreds of people in the city on July 26, 2008.
The court concluded the hearings in September and had reserved the order for pronouncement which was to be on last Tuesday, but was deferred as the judge who was supposed to announce the verdict had tested Covid positive.
At least 56 people were killed and over 200 injured in 21 bomb blasts that had hit Ahmedabad city within a span of 70 minutes on July 26, 2008.
Special judge Ambalal R Patel had tested Covid positive on January 30 and was under home isolation, the senior public prosecutor said.
The police had registered 20 FIRs in Ahmedabad while 15 other FIRs were registered in Surat, where bombs were recovered from various spots.
The trial was conducted after the court merged all the 35 FIRs, as the police investigation claimed that “they were part of the same conspiracy” by a terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a breakaway faction of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Only two of the accused, one for treatment of schizophrenia, and the second for turning an approver, were granted bail while the rest of 76 suspects have been languishing in jail ever since their arrest at various points in time during the pendency of the trial.
The case is considered to be one of the longest criminal trials in recent years.
The police had claimed that people associated with the terror oufit IM were involved in the blasts.
The investigation was carried out by Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad which claimed that the motive behind the terror strikes was “avenging atrocities on Muslims during 2002 post Godhra riots.”
The trial, which began in December 2009, was conducted against 78 people. But, the number of accused later came down to 77 after one of them turned an approver during the course of trial.
Four more accused were eventually arrested in the case, but their trial has not yet commenced, a senior government lawyer said.
Over 1,100 witnesses were examined by the prosecution. The accused are facing charges of murder and criminal conspiracy, and have also been booked under relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Among the suspects is Safdar Nagori, former head of SIMI, Hafiz Hussain Mulla, Saduli Abdul Karim, Kamruddin Chand Nagori, Amil Parvez Shaikh, Mohammed Yasin, Sibli Abdul Karim Muslim, Mohammed Ansari, among others.
Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad sessions court has been converted into a fortress, where no one will be allowed till the pronouncement time.
Not even the advocates of concerned would be permitted inside the court premises, considering the sensitivity of the matter.