KOCHI: Thirty-eight accused. Seventy-nine witnesses. Over a year of judicial process. The trial of 2007's Wagamon SIMI camp case, which began in 2017, wrapped up at the NIA Court here on Wednesday. NIA Judge Kauser Edappagath completed the final hearing and posted the case on April 23. Though the court did not announce the date for the verdict, an NIA officer said it is expected before May 15.
The trial commenced after the NIA chargesheeted 38 persons involved in organising and participating in the armed training camp held at Thangalpara in Wagamon from December 10 to December 12, 2007. As many as 77 prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses were examined. Of the 38 chargesheeted, 35 accused faced trial.
This was the first case in the state in which the trial was conducted via video-conferencing, by connecting the NIA Court here with jails in Bhopal, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, where the accused were lodged. The 22 persons lodged at the Ahmedabad prison included those who were recently shifted from Bengaluru and New Delhi prisons. Twelve accused persons are at the Bhopal Central Jail.
Wasiq Billa is the sole accused who is absconding. Mehaboob Malik, the 31st accused, was shot dead while attempting to escape from the Bhopal Central jail.
Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, the founder-member of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the 35th accused, was arrested by the Delhi Police few months back. The NIA Court had issued a warrant to produce Qureshi before the court on April 24.
The camp was held as part of the preparation for the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. Similar training camps were held in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The case was first registered by the Kerala Police and was later handed over to the NIA.