A designated POTA court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday convicted 22 people and acquitted an equal number in an ISI-backed terror conspiracy case to avenge post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat.
In the case filed in 2003, the 44 accused were allegedly involved in jihadi activities in connivance with some elements in Pakistan.
POTA court judge Jyotsana Yagnik sentenced 18 of the 22 accused to 10 years imprisonment, while three got nine years and one three years jail term. Out of the 22 convicted 21 are from the city and one from Mumbai.
The accused have been convicted under section 3(1)(a), 3(3) and 4 of POTA.
Most of the 22 acquitted for want of evidence are from Hyderabad.
The accused had been charged with illegally crossing over to Pakistan for training to unleash terror in order to avenge the 2002 riots. They were also accused of plotting to kill Gujarat leaders including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, besides hatching various terror conspiracies in the state.
Thirty-six other accused including gangster Dawood Ibrahim, his aide Chhota Shakeel, besides Rasool Party and Mufti Sufiyan Patangia are absconding.
The prosecution insisted that ISI played a key role in picking up the accused and taking them to Pakistan for arms training to execute terror plans, while defence contested the charge and claimed the accused were illegally detained by city crime branch much before their arrest was shown on record.