Gujarat court acquits 28 accused, convicts 49 in 2008 serial blasts

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The Ahmedabad special designated court on Tuesday pronounced its verdict in the 2008 serial blasts case which claimed 56 lives. The court acquitted 28 accused out of 77 and convicted 49. The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Wednesday.

Judge Ambalal R. Patel, who presided over the trial, resumed work after recovering from Covid-19.

As many as 77 accused faced trial in the case, after one of them turned approver. Four more accused were arrested later, but their trial has not yet commenced. Out of the 28 acquittal, 16 were given a benefit of doubt, while 12 were pronounced innocent due to lack of evidence.

At least 56 people were killed and over 200 were injured in 21 bomb blasts that rocked Ahmedabad city within a span of 70 minutes on July 26, 2008. The police had claimed people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts. It was alleged IM terrorists had planned and executed the attack as revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The trial in the case began in December 2009 against 78 persons connected to IM after the court merged all 35 FIRs.

Over 1,100 witnesses were examined by the prosecution. The accused are facing charges of murder and criminal conspiracy, among others, and they have also been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The trial court had set February 1 as the date for the judgment, but the matter was deferred to February 8 after the judge fell ill. The court will pronounce the sentence on Wednesday.

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