01 March 2023 :
National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court on 28 February 2023 gave death sentences verdict to seven out of eight convicts in the 2017 Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train blast case. Another convict was given life imprisonment.
The court awarded death sentence to Mohammad Faisal, Gaus Mohammad Khan, Azhar, Atif Muzaffar, Danish, Mir Hussain, Asif Iqbal and life imprisonment to Atif Iraqi.
The court 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.
The 2017 Bhopal - Ujjain Passenger train bomb blast was a terrorist attack that occurred on 7 March 2017. The blast occurred in a general coach of the train between 9.30 am and 10 am near Jabdi station in the district.
While 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. As reported by PTI, the convicts had pleaded the court to show leniency in awarding sentence to them as they had already been in jail for over five years now.
The court, however, refuted their plea and said that the convicts waged war against the country and hence they were not entitled to any leniency.
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, as per PTI.
According to special public prosecutors M K Singh and K K Sharma, an FIR in the case was registered on 8 March 2017 with ATS police station in Lucknow.
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 31 August 2017. In the charge sheet, one more accused, Saifullah, was named but he was killed in an encounter in Dubagga area of Lucknow.
(Sources: Mint, 28/02/2023)