A Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist, Bakhshish Singh alias Baba and six others were held guilty by a local court on Wednesday in a four-year-old case of an attempt to kill the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head.
A cavalcade of dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was attacked by a bomb on the GT Road near Karnal on February 2, 2008.
Though Singh escaped unhurt, his two followers sustained injuries after the assailants missed the targeted vehicle.
The dera head had appeared in a print advertisement, dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh, tenth Sikh guru, which led to large-scale violent protests by Sikhs in Punjab and Haryana.
Main conspirator Bakhshish hatched a conspiracy to kill the dera head for hurting religious sentiments.
Though, convicts' sympathisers had gathered at the heavily guarded court complex, no clashes were reported.
Additional and sessions judge Ravi Kumar sentenced Bakhshish, Swaran Singh and Mohinder Singh to 10-year imprisonment under Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act.
Other convicts Gurinder Singh, Hoshiar Singh, Dharminder Singh and Jaswant Singh were sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
All convicts were held guilty of conspiring (120-B) and attempting to kill under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.
The judge imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on all convicts.
Meanwhile, an accused, Praveen Kaur of Patiala, was acquitted on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
The Punjab Police had arrested Bakhshish from Amritsar and claimed to have recovered explosives, including 2.3 kg RDX, .30-bore pistol and 28 cartridges, from his possession.
Prosecutor BS Rathore told the Hindustan Times that they would approach the Punjab and Haryana high court to seek action against Praveen Kaur, while the defence team decided to file a review petition to the higher court.
Meanwhile, Dera Sacha Sauda spokesman Aditya Arora "Insan" told HT that the dera welcomed the verdict.
What happened on February 2, 2008?
Swaran and Mohinder were in a truck from which a stepney bomb was thrown on the convoy of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief near Nilokheri, about 15 km from Karnal.
The dera followers had overpowered the duo soon after the blast and handed them over to the Karnal police.
The caravan of the dear chief was targeted while he was on his way to New Delhi from Ambala on February 2, 2008.
THE MAIN CONSPIRATOR
According to police sources, Bakhshish Singh was involved in more than 20 terror-related incidents, including bomb blasts, possession of high-grade explosives and planting IEDs.
They said after an unsuccessful bomb attack on the dera chief, Bakhshish had managed to escape to Malaysia with the help of another wanted terrorist Harminder Singh alias Mintu.
Later, he reached Pakistan.
He was allegedly active in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Bakhshish was allegedly involved in planting IEDs at the LPG bottling plant at Nabha and Air Force Station, Halwara, Ludhiana.
He was earlier arrested on August 21, 1999, by the Delhi Police and remained lodged in Nabha Jail till January 2005.