Four get death sentence for 2013 Patna serial blasts at Modi’s rally

A special NIA court on Monday awarded death sentence to four of the nine people convicted in the 2013 serial blasts that left six dead here at the venue of an election rally addressed by Narendra Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Special NIA judge Gurvinder Singh Mehrotra, who had on October 27 pronounced the nine guilty, also sentenced two other accused to life imprisonment, besides awarding 10 years rigorous imprisonment to as many and seven years in jail to another convict.

According to Special Public Prosecutor Lalan Prasad Singh, who argued on behalf of the NIA, capital punishment has been awarded to Haider Ali, Noman Ansari, Mohd Mujibullah Ansari and Imtiyaz Alam.

“The court took a grim view of the series of explosions which were aimed at causing heavy casualties at a gathering of innocent people,” Singh told reporters outside the court.

“Two others – Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Qureishi – had confessed to their involvement during trial. The court, considering their confession, did not award death sentence to them but only sentenced them for life,” he added.

Notably, five of the convicts – Haider Ali, Mohd Mujibullah Ansari, Imtiyaz Alam, Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Ansari – were awarded life imprisonment by the court three years ago in connection with the serial blasts that had rocked the international pilgrim city of Bodh Gaya three months prior to the explosions at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

Singh said of the remaining three convicts, Ahmed Husain and Mohd Firoz Aslam have been awarded 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, while Iftikhar Alam got seven years in jail.

The NIA had filed charge-sheets against altogether 11 people in connection with the Patna blasts that took place on October 27, 2013, when Modi – then the chief minister of Gujarat – was addressing his maiden public meeting in Bihar.

One of them was a minor and his matter was referred to the juvenile justice board. Another person was acquitted by the court for want of evidence.

A series of low-intensity blasts and the resultant stampede had left six people dead and scores of others injured.

No terrorist outfit had claimed responsibility for it but it was suspected that banned outfits SIMI and Indian Mujahideen were behind the incident.

“The NIA argued its case forcefully and cogently. Besides statements of witnesses, electronic evidence was placed on record. It was established that the convicts were involved in the conspiracy which was hatched in Raipur followed by preparing of explosives in Ranchi,” Singh added.

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