29 March 2023 :
The Rajasthan high court on 29 March 2023 acquitted four men sentenced to death by a trial court for nine blasts that went off in Jaipur in May 2008, killing 71 people and injuring over 170.
The four were convicted and handed out the death penalty by a sessions court on 8 August 2020, for the nine ammonium nitrate-based bombs that went off within a span of 20 minutes. The explosives, which went off between 7:20pm and 7:45pm on 13 May 2008, were strapped to bicycles and packed with metal splinters or ball bearings to maximize damage in crowded areas.
Mohammad Saif, 32, Mohammad Sarvar, 36, Saif-Ur-Rahman alias Saif-ur-Rahman, 36, and Salman, 34 were convicted for the blasts by a sessions court, ruling that they were guilty of murder, attempt to murder, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means and conspiracy under relevant sections of the Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
On 29 March, a two-judge bench of justices Pankaj Bhandari and Sameer Jain set aside the conviction.
Syed Saadat Ali, who represented the four men, said the high court ruled that the charges levelled at them by Rajasthan’s anti-terror squad could not be proved and that there was no evidence to convict them. He said one of the four men convicted by the trial court was a juvenile in 2008 but was still prosecuted and convicted.
Additional advocate general Rajesh Mehrishi said the high court acquitted the four due to lack of evidence and lapses in the investigation.
Ali added that the state government has been ordered to take action against police officers indicted in the order. In all, the police initially charged 13 men in their twenties for the blasts.
The eight locations targeted in the nine blasts – Manak Chowk police station, Badi Chaupad, Kotwali police station, Tripoliya Bazar, Chandpole Hanuman temple, National Handloom in Jauhari Bazar, Chhoti Chaupad and Sanganeri Gate Hanuman temple – were within a 2-km radius in Jaipur’s Walled City.
The largest number of people were killed in the blasts near the Hanuman temples. In two blasts outside the Chandpole temple, 25 people were killed, and 17 died outside Sanganeri Gate temple.