NIA Court Sentences Indian Mujahideen Accused to 10 Years in Prison, Here's Why

In a major legal development, Syed Maqbool, one of the 11 individuals implicated in the Indian Mujahideen conspiracy case, was handed a 10-year prison sentence by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Delhi on Thursday.

This sentencing marks the culmination of a complex legal process that began with Maqbool's arrest on February 28, 2013, in Nanded, Maharashtra. He had been actively involved with members of the Indian Mujahideen, both in India and Pakistan, and was found to be complicit in their plans for explosive attacks within India. Maqbool's conviction came on September 22, 2023, following a trial conducted by the special judge of the NIA special court in the national capital. He now stands as the fifth accused to receive a verdict out of the 11 involved in the case.

The investigation by the NIA unveiled Maqbool's close associations with key figures of the Indian Mujahideen, including Riyaz Bhatkal in Pakistan, and Imran Khan and Obaid-Ur-Rehman in India. They were found to have conspired to orchestrate explosive attacks in various locations across India, with a particular focus on Hyderabad. Extensive reconnaissance activities were carried out, including surveillance of significant sites, notably in Hyderabad.

The case revolves around the conspiracy orchestrated by members of the Indian Mujahideen, a group responsible for orchestrating a series of devastating bombings across the country. These acts of terror span a range of incidents, including the Varanasi blasts in March 2006, the Mumbai serial bombings in July 2006, the Uttar Pradesh courts serial blasts in Varanasi, Faizabad, and Lucknow in November 2007, the Hyderabad twin bombings in August 2007, the Jaipur serial blasts in 2008, the Delhi serial bombings in 2008, the Ahmedabad serial bombings on July 26, 2008, the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore in 2010, and the Hyderabad twin bombings in 2013.

In a previous judgment this year on July 12, four accused individuals--Danish Ansari, Aftab Alam, Imran Khan, and Obaid-Ur-Rehman--were found guilty under sections 18, 19, 38(2), and 39(2) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with this case. They, too, received 10-year prison sentences.

On March 31st of this year, formal charges were framed against the aforementioned accused individuals, alongside ten others including Yasin Bhatkal, Asadullah Akhtar, Zia-Ur-Rehman, Tehsin Akhter, and Hyder Ali. This sentencing was carried out by the NIA Special Court in New Delhi under sections 121 and 122 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as sections 17, 18, 19, 21, 38, 39, and 40 of the UA(P) Act.

The trial for the remaining six accused individuals, who are facing various charges under the IPC and the UA(P) Act, is currently ongoing.

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