Alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment (RI) under the Explosive Substances Act, by first additional metropolitan session judge of the Nampally criminal courts here on Wednesday.
However, he was not found guilty in another five charges framed against him. According to prosecution, on the directions of his Pakistani handler Abdul Aziz, Haq visited Delhi and collected a consignment of arms and ammunition. A portion of this consignment was used in the grenade attack at Odeon theatre here on May 7, 2006.
Haq was the prime accused in the blast case, in which two persons, including a girl, were injured. Haq, who had already completed three years and eight months in imprison, will have to serve the remaining term. He has been lodged in Chanchalguda jail since his arrest in 2010.
Haq was arrested on May 3, 2010, by Bhavani Nagar police from Edi Bazaar area of the Old City with a Chinese-made grenade. Later, one grenade, a 7.4 mm pistol, six live rounds of ammunition and a cellphone were seized from his residence in Kumarwadi colony near Eidi Bazaar. The case was subsequently handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Zia-ul-Haq, who was present in the court, pleaded with the judge to reduce the quantum of punishment. He said he was the sole bread earner of his family.
“My family had already suffered a lot in my absence. Already, I have completed nearly four years in prison and if the sentence period is reduced, my family will be saved,” he said. However, the judge ignored the request and sentenced him to seven years of rigours imprisonment.
Haq looked composed and answered all the queries of the judge. His mother and wife, were present in the court. The NIA alleged that Haq, who had been working in Saudi Arabia since 1996, was influenced by Aziz and others to wage ‘jihad’ against India. He had gone to Karachi (Pakistan) in early 2002 and then to Muzzafarabad (PoK), where he joined the LeT.
After completion of training, Haq infiltrated into India through Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, along with other LeT members.