4 sentenced to death for 2013 Gandhi Maidan blasts in Patna; jail for 5 others
PATNA: Four of the nine men convicted for the 2013 serial blasts at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan have been sentenced to death by a Patna court on Monday. Special NIA judge Gurwinder Singh Malhotra sentenced the five other convicts to prison terms ranging from life to seven years.
Six people were killed and 90 injured in the explosions.
Seven blasts went off on October 27, 2013, right before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, was to reach the venue to address an election meeting.
The additional district and sessions judge (XV) of the special NIA court,Gurwinder Singh Malhotra awarded capital punishment to Imtiyaz Ansari, Haider Ali alias Abdullah alias “Black Beauty”, Noman Ansari and Mohammed Mujibullah Ansari.
Umar Siddiqui and Azharuddin Qureshi were sentenced to life imprisonment, Ahmed Hussain and Feroz Aslam were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment while Mohammed Iftekhar Alam was awarded a seven-year prison term.
Five of the convicts - Haider Ali, alias Black Beauty, Imtiaz Ansari, Umer Siddique, Azharuddin Qureshi and Mujibullah Ansari - are already serving life terms for the Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi blasts just over three months before the October 27, 2013, attack on Modi’s election rally.
The nine were convicted on October 27 by the special NIA judge for planting and detonating the explosions.
Special public prosecutor Lalan Kumar Sinha said the nine were convicted for criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, waging war against the government of India, conspiracy to wage war against the government, destroying evidence, explosives and railway act and the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Two suspects including Imtiyaz Ansari (Gandhi Maidan) and Mohammad Tariq Ajam (Patna Junction) were also injured in the incident and revealed the name of other suspects.
Ajam died during the treatment in the PMCH. Following their revelations, the Bihar police and NIA solved the Bodh Gaya blasts case as well.
Senior police officer Manu Mahraaj, who was Patna’s senior superintendent of police when the blasts took place, said Imtiaz’s arrest after his injury in an accidental blast at Patna railway junction on the day of Modi’s rally blew the lid off the conspiracy. The then SSP and then Bihar police chief Abhyanand told HT that they were happy with the court’s judgement.