Aneeq Shafique Sayeed and Ismail Chaudhary, convicted for their role in the Hyderabad twin bombings at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park, were given capital punishment by the special court at Cherlapally Central Prison on Monday. The court also sentenced Tariq Anjum to life imprisonment.
Earlier in the day, the court found Tariq guilty of sheltering and harbouring the seven main accused. Tariq's case was being heard parallelly.
"Aneeq Shafique Sayeed and Ismail Chaudhary were fined Rs 10,000 each. The judge observed the sections and pronounced the judgement. We have been asking for life imprisonment since noon," said defence lawyer Ggurumurthy. He said that the two were sentenced to death under Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (Punishment for terrorist act).
“The convicted were silent for most part. They had said that they were not responsible for planting the bombs. But the court found them guilty. The court will try whenever they find the absconding,” Special Prosecutor Surender said.
On September 4, a special court set up in Cherlapally Central Prison found both Aneeq Shafique and Ismail Chaudhary guilty, and two others — Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkish and Mohd Sadiq Israr Shaik – were acquitted.
On August 25, 2007, two bombs ripped through two of the most crowded places in Hyderabad—the Lumbini Park, near the Secretariat and Gokul Chat, a popular eatery in Koti.
The blasts killed 42 persons and injured over 50 persons. More than 150 witnesses were questioned and cross-examined during the decade-long trial, the hearing for which concluded on August 7.
Investigation authorities said that the blasts were carried out by the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM). The founders of IM Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, along with another accused, are absconding.
A chargesheet was filed in 2013 against Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, Aneeq Shafique Sayeed, Ismail Chaudhary, Farooq Sharfuddin Tarkish, Mohd Sadiq Israr Shaik and one other person. They were booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Explosive Substances Act.
According to the police, Riyaz Bhatkal had asked Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chaudhary, a resident of Pune, to visit Hyderabad and identify crowded places to plant bombs. As instructed, he conducted a recce across Hyderabad and planted bombs at several places, out of which two exploded.
The investigating authorities had earlier said that terrorists used Neogel-90, an ammonium nitrate base, in the improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
In 2014, IM co-founder Iqbal Bhatkal said that he had supplied explosives to Riyaz, days before the blast. "I supplied IEDs to Riyaz Bhatkal in Udupi, Karnataka, 8-10 days prior to the blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park. I do not know the people who participated in the two blasts in Hyderabad," Bhatkal said in his statement before a magistrate in Miyapur.
The confession was part of the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) before a Delhi court.
When quizzed about their motive, the accused reportedly told investigators that they wanted to take revenge for the blasts carried out in Mecca Masjid. On May 18, 2007, as thousands gathered for the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid, considered one of the holiest sites in the city, two blasts ripped through the mosque, killing 9 people, injuring 58 others. Earlier this year, an NIA special court in Hyderabad acquitted 5 accused in the case, including main accused Swami Aseemanand, citing lack of evidence.