A special court of National Investigating Agency (NIA) in Bengaluru, on Friday, sentenced 13 accused in the Bengaluru terror module case of 2012, to five years of imprisonment and a total fine of Rs 31000, after the accused pleaded guilty.
The Special Court had completed the final hearing in the case on Thursday. The convicted, said to belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jihad-E-Islami, were charged with unlawful activity and terror related activity, after they were arrested by Central Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths in 2012 following a tip off.
During the raids at 12 locations in six cities–Bengaluru, Tumkur, Mangaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow—on January 22, 2012, the NIA had recovered allegedly incriminating articles, including laptops, unaccounted cash, jihadi literature, videos and material for preparation of bombs and circuits for detonating explosives.
Investigation revealed that the group had been plotting to kill right-wing leaders, police and journalists in Bengaluru and Hubballi in 2012. The terror hit list included MPs Pratap Simha (Mysuru-Kodagu), Prahlad Joshi (Dharwad), Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik and senior journalist Vishweshwara Bhat.
Special Judge for NIA cases C Muralidhar Pai pronounced the verdict and said since the accused had already spent three-and-a-half years in jail, they would only have to serve the remaining one-and-half years term.
Of the 13 convicts, four are from Karnataka. Syed Mujahid is from Tumkur, Asif Ali alias Arman Saani, Suhail Ahmed alias Sohail alias Hafes Saab and Muhammed Abdul Ahad alias Bade Amir alias Sulaiman are from Bengaluru. The other nine include Mohammad Aleem from Lucknow, Mohammed Obedullah Khan alias Obaid alias Talha and Abu Anas, both from Hyderabad, and Mohammad Hussain Khan alias Jamil from Mazgaon, Mumbai.
Welcoming the verdict, MP Pratap Simha said, "The case reached a logical conclusion after the NIA with assistance from the CCB police meticulously completed the probe. However, the accused pleaded guilty only to get relaxation in the quantum of punishment. A failed bid (to kill) does not make the severity of the crime any less”.