JAIPUR: A special court is likely to pronounce the quantum of sentence in the 2007 Ajmer dargah bomb blast case on March 18.
The special CBI court today heard the arguments on the sentencing and posted the matter for Saturday.
During the hearing, the defence counsel argued that the case should not be linked with religion after the prosecution submitted that it was the "first case where it is proved that the members of the community to which the convicts belong are involved in terror activities". The defence counsel also said the court should consider one section for conspiracy instead of two sections for deciding the quantum of sentence.
The court had on March 8 convicted Bhavesh Patel, Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi while acquitting others including Swami Aseemanand. Joshi has already died. The conviction was made under charges of criminal conspiracy, malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings and related offences and relevant sections of the Explosives Substances Act.
The defence counsel, Jagdish Rana, argued that both the sections of 120-B of IPC and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) deal with conspiracy, so only the latter should only be considered to fix the quantum of punishment.
Before this, Public Prosecutor Ashwini Kumar said the court should consider that the bomb blast killed three persons and left 15 injured. He said the bomb was planted at the place of Sufi saint, and cited that the Supreme Court has also said that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. Indian culture follows the theory of live and let live, he added.
The defence counsel objected, saying this should not be linked with religion. The blast on October 11, 2007 in the dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti at the time of Roza Iftaar, had left three pilgrims dead and 15 injured. The case was handed over to ATS Rajasthan and later transferred to NIA which re-registered the case with the agency's police station in New Delhi on April 6, 2011.
There were as many as 149 witnesses in the case and 451 documents were examined and the NIA filed three supplementary chargesheets in the case.