Prosecution wants capital punishment, defence demands compensation for acquitted men, victims are disappointed
Hyderabad: The lower court’s verdict in the 2007 Hyderabad twin blast case has left victims’ families and survivors disappointed, but the prosecution is confident that the High Court will award the death penalty to the two people found guilty.
The court had convicted two and acquitted two over the terror attack.
Defence lawyers, however, said they will challenge the verdict in the High Court as the evidence against them was flimsy.
Second additional metropolitan sessions judge T Srinivasa Rao declared Anique Shafeeq Sayeed, 36, and Akbar Esmail Choudhary, both from Pune, guilty under various sections. He will hear the arguments of both the sides on Monday before pronouncing the punishment.
Special public prosecutor C Seshu Reddy, representing the Counter Intelligence Cell of Telangana police, told the media: “Having clearly proved the charges beyond doubt we will now argue for capital punishment.”
While the court found the duo guilty under 11 sections of the Indian Penal Code, as well as the explosive substances act, it declared them not guilty under section 20 of the Unlawful Activities (prevention) act dismissing the charge of the prosecution that they were members of outlawed organisation Indian Mujahideen.
Prosecution had charged that the bomb blasts were carried out by Indian Mujahideen.
However, the court found them guilty of waging war against the state, conspiracy, attempt to murder, murder, creating enmity between classes, playing mischief with explosives.
Of the five accused, the court acquitted two — Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkash, 35, a private employee in Pune, and Mohammad Sadiq Israr Shaikh, 42, a computer engineer from Mumbai.
The two were arrested by Maharashtra police in 2009 and spent nine years in Hyderabad jail.
The court will decide the fate of the fifth accused, 42-year-old engineer from Delhi, Tarique Anjum, on Monday. He was charged with providing shelter to the other accused.
Defence counsel G Gurumurthy representing Sayeed said that he will challenge the verdict in the High Court as the case was very weak.
“There is every chance that the High Court will set aside the judgement,” he said.
Mohammad Abdul Azeem, defence counsel for the accused who were acquitted said: “The verdict has proved that my clients were implicated. They have been pleading from the beginning that they were falsely implicated.” He said that he will file a suit in civil court demanding compensation for his clients.
The blasts in an open air theatre of Lumbini Park and at Gokul Chat Bhandar in Kothi in Hyderabad killed 44 and injured 68. A third bomb planted at Dilsukhnagar failed to explode. While the Counter Intelligence Cell was probing the case it was Maharashtra police that arrested the suspects in 2009.
Meanwhile, the verdict failed to impress the families of the victims and survivors.
Chander Naik, who lost an eye in the blast at Gokul Chat Bhandar said that he was not happy with the acquittal of the two accused. “I urge the government to challenge it in high court,” he said. He was also bitter that the state government failed in its promise of helping the victims of the blast. He was among the survivors who gathered outside the Charalapally Jail where the judge pronounced the verdict in a makeshift court. He was carrying around a placard that said “CM sir please give us a chance to meet you”.
B Anjaiah, whose daughter Shravanthi and two other women in his family died in Kothi blast, said that he wanted the convicts to be hanged. But he did not comment on the acquittal of the two saying he respects the court’s verdict.
For Ayesha Sultana, who lost her brother, sister-in-law and their two children, said there was nothing for her in the judgement.
“My entire life [turned] upside down on that day. Nothing can change it. The government did not help us even after promising a job, pension and compensation,” she said.