Plot to kidnap Sachin: Six terrorists get life term

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEW DELHI - Six Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) terrorists, including three Pakistanis, were Saturday awarded life imprisonment by a Delhi court for plotting to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in 2002.

Additional Sessions Judge Pinki (one name) pronounced the sentence in the case in which the convicts were also accused of plotting to assassinate the then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his visit to Patna in 2002.

The court awarded them life sentence for conspiring to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in 2002 to secure the release of two jailed terrorists.

Delhi Police also charged them with conspiring to attack the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai.

Three Pakistan-based militants Tariq Mohammed, Arshad Khan and Ashfaq Ahmed, and two Indians Mufti Israr and Ghulam Qadir Bhatt were held guilty under the stringent anti-terror law POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act).

The sixth accused, Ghulam Mohd Dar, who was out of jail on bail, was taken into custody with the pronouncement of the verdict.

Immediately after the judgment, Dar’s son Irfan, who was present outside the courtroom, broke down.

The accused faced trial for offences of collecting arms with the intention to wage war against the government and conspiring to commit offences against the state.

Besides POTA, the accused were charged under the Arms Act. The three Pakistanis were also tried under the Foreigners Act.

Initially, police arrested 10 HuJI militants including six Pakistanis.

Out of them, three Pakistanis - Mohammed Amran, Abdul Majeed and Mohammed Ashraf - had pleaded guilty in 2003 and were awarded eight years’ jail term for their varying roles, besides the fine.

Jalaluddin, an accused who was termed as the mastermind, managed to escape from police custody during the probe and was later declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

The prosecution relied upon e-mail exchanges of the accused with their Pakistan-based handlers to prove the charges.

Defence lawyer M.S. Khan rebutted the prosecution claim saying the alleged e-mails were forged as most of the accused were in custody during the period when the e-mails were exchanged.

“The militants wanted to secure the release of HuJI men Nasarullah Langrial and Abdul Rahim who were then lodged in jails here,” prosecutor Anita Hooda said.

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