Kochi NIA court convicts 18

Special National Investigation Agency court convicts 18 people for organising SIMI camp in Kerala

Special National Investigation Agency court convicts 18 people for organising SIMI camp in Kerala

This was the first case where the trial was carried out using multi-point videoconferencing system by connecting the NIA court in Kochi with prisons in Ahmedabad, Bhopal, and Bengaluru.

The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment tomorrow.

The convicts include the general secretary of banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) Safdar Nagori who is now lodged in Sabarmati prison in Ahmedabad.

Eighteen people convicted on Monday for organising a camp of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India in Kerala in 2007, were sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment on Tuesday, PTI reported.

All the 18 were convicted under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 120B of IPC and 10 (Membership of an Unlawful Association etc) and 38 (Membership of a terrorist organization) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), besides Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act.

Though the prosecution failed to prove the charge that the accused had waged an armed war against the country, the accusation that they were members of a terror outfit could be proven.

It also awarded 13 of them, who were found guilty under Section 20 of UAPA, to an additional term of seven years and a fine of ₹50,000.

Yesterday in its verdict, the court found them guilty and acquitted 17 accused in the Wagamon SIMI camp case. Another accused Abdus Subhan Qureshi was recently arrested in this case.

First accused Eerattupetta Peedikkal P A Shaduli (Harris), fourth accused Peedikkal PA Shibily, fifith accused Aluva Kunhunnikkara Perunthelil PA Muhammad Ansar (Ansar Nadvi), sixth accused Perunthelil Abdul Sathar are the Keralites involved in the case. "However, since they are facing trial in another case - Ahmedabad serial blasts, they won't be set free now", said an officer of the NIA. The 31st accused Mehaboob Malik of Madhya Pradesh was shot dead by security officers while trying to escape from jail. The court had acquitted 17 of 35 defendants who faced the trial commenced in January previous year.

The NIA said the SIMI members organised training camps in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat from December 10 to 12, 2007.

As per the NIA's finding, the SIMI leaders had conspired to conduct training camps for its active operatives and had held such camps in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and many other places. "The participants had engaged in physical training, firing practice, training in explosives, motorbike racing and rope climbing, besides classes on "jihad" in India", a statement issued by the NIA says.