HYDERABAD: Two persons convicted in the 2007 Hyderabad twin blast case were awarded death sentence by a sessions court on Monday. A third accused, facing charges of sheltering terrorists, was also found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of `10,000 on each of the convicts, for every charge proved against them.
While Anique Shafique Sayeed and Mohd Akbar Ismail Chowdhari were sentenced to death by in-charge judge T Srinivas Rao, Mohd Tariq Anjum Ahsan was awarded life sentence for sheltering absconding accused Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal at his Delhi residence before and after the blast.
Anique and Akbar were awarded death in two cases -- where bombs went off at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park killing several people. They were also awarded a life term for planting a bomb at Dilsukhnagar, which was later diffused by security agencies. “The case records will be sent to High Court for confirmation and the sentence will be executed,” said NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor K Surender.
Advocate Sheshu Reddy Challa, another counsel for the investigating agency, said they would move a higher court against the acquittal of two other accused in the case -- Farooq Sharfuddin Tarqish and Mohd Sadiq Israr Sheikh. They were acquitted from the case earlier by the same court. “After studying the grounds for the acquittal of the two accused, we will move the high court,” he said.
Before the verdict was pronounced, the judge asked the convicts if they had something to tell the court. The accused said they were innocent and completely unaware of the incidents. “We have been falsely implicated in the case. We did not even travel to Hyderabad, then where does the question of planting the bombs arise?” The pleaded that they had already served 10 years in prison and urged to be set free.
Arguing on behalf of the convicts, the defence counsel claimed his clients were falsely implicated in the case. They acted like ‘robots’ and planted bombs under the influence of their handlers. The counsel also urged the court to consider their condition and be lenient in the sentence. However, the court refused to incline to their contentions.
Gandham Gurumurthy, appearing for Anique Shafique Sayeed said they will file a ‘referral’ on the sentence before the High Court.
“We have cited number of Supreme Court judgments which say death sentence cannot be given in cases having weak evidence. But the public prosecutors confused the judge saying they were under high pressure from the government and police. We will definitely go for a referral on the sentences.” he said. The public prosecutors, however denied the allegations and claimed the court had formed its opinion based on evidence.
Accused break down
Anique Shafique Sayeed and Mohd Akbar Ismail Chowdhari, who were awarded death sentence, and Mohd Tariq Anjum Ahsan, who was sentenced to life broke down after the judge read out the verdict. However, while walking out of the court room, they claimed they were not involved in the cases.