KOCHI: A special court of the National Investigation Agency on Thursday convicted 13 people in the sensational palm chopping case.
The NIA court acquitted 18 people in the sensational case in which the right palm of T J Joseph, then a professor with the Newman College, Thodupuzha, was severed by a group of assailants. According to the prosecution, the accused persons, members of the Popular Front of India (PFI), had attacked the professor on July 4, 2010, for authoring a question paper that allegedly had material insulting the Prophet.
Trial proceedings were held against 31 accused persons out of the total 36 chargesheeted by the NIA. While the court found seven people -- Jamal (44) of Kalady, Muhammad Shobin (28) of Kothamangalam, Shamsuddin alias Shamsu (37) of Perumbavoor, Shanavas (32) of North Paravoor and Pareeth K A (36) of Aluva -- all part of the gang which attacked Prof Joseph guilty of charges against them, it let off several men the NIA arraigned as accused because of lack of evidence.
Those who have been acquitted include SDPI’s Vazhakulam block panchayat member M A Anas, K K Niyas and Dr Raneef. The absconding persons, who did not face trial despite being chargesheeted are M K Nazar (45), considered to be the mastermind behind the crime, Savad (31) and Sajil (34).
Savad and Sajil, respectively the first and fourth accused in the case, were with the assailant group, according to the prosecution. The court has posted the case for final hearing on May 5.
The court found Jamal, Mohammed Shobin, Shamsuddin, Shanavas and Pareeth K A, members of the assailant group, guilty of unlawful assembly, rioting, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt, causing hurt using weapons, criminal intimidation, murder attempt and promoting enmity between religions; Section 3 of Explosives Substance Act and Section 15, 16, 18 and 20 of UAPA for terrorist activities, conspiracy for terrorist activities and being part of a terrorist group. Yonus Aliyar, K K Ali and Shejeer were found guilty under IPC sections for causing hurt using weapon, murder attempt, promoting enemity between religious groups, Section 3 of explosives act and Section 18 and 20 of UAPA for conspiracy for terrorist activities and being part of a terrorist group. The ninth accused Jaffar was also found guilty of destroying evidence.
The court observed that prosecution failed to prove that acquitted persons were members of Popular Front India, had participated in criminal conspiracy, abettment or harbouring of the accused. ENS