A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced three accused in the Nanded arms case of 2012 to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and acquitted two.
The five accused were alleged to be members of the banned terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who conspired with the help of handlers from Saudi Arabia to eliminate journalists and politicians from the Hindu community in different locations in the country.
Special Judge DE Kothalikar sentenced the three - Mohd. Muzammil Gani, Mohd. Sadiq Farooq and Mohd. Akram under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Gani was also held guilty of offences under the Arms Act. Two acquitted are Mohd. Ilyas Akbar and Mohd. Irfan. Of the five, Mohd. Irfan was released on bail in July 2019.
The NIA examined 73 witnesses in the case including witnesses present in conspiracy meetings. A witness who turned hostile during the trial has been issued a notice for perjury after the NIA moved a plea for the same.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had filed the chargesheet in the case in January 2013. The NIA took over the case in June that year and submitted a supplementary chargesheet in February 2016. The case had been transferred from the Aurangabad sessions court to the NIA court in the city.
As per the prosecution’s case, Akram had gone to Saudi Arabia under the guise of finding employment as a driver with the help of a wanted accused. There he conspired with LeT members to eliminate prominent Hindu personalities. He was arrested a month after the initial four arrests in the case that the ATS made based on secret information.
Gani and Farooq had been found with country-made revolvers and live cartridges in Nanded on 31 August 2012, which they had allegedly procured on Akram’s instructions. It is also the prosecution’s case that the five had met for a conspiracy meeting on 17 July 2012 at Majal Residency, Mumbai and then travelled together to Hyderabad to conspire further and conduct recce of some persons at Hyderabad and also at Nanded.