Close to four years after two bombs exploded in a crowded shopping area in Hyderabad, leaving 18 dead and several injured, an NIA special court on Monday sentenced to death all the five terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen who were found responsible for the blasts.
The special court had been set up at the premises of the Cherlapally Central Jail.
On the day of the verdict, even as journalists gathered outside relaying information back to their newsrooms, a car pulled out from the jail premises, and NIA special prosecutor K Surender stepped out to address the media.
This was Surender's second big victory, his earlier one being the conviction of Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju and nine others.
During the course of the hearing, the NIA had submitted more than 200 pieces of evidence and produced more than 150 witnesses.
The media is all praise for him, celebrating him like a hero. He has been called 'Terror's nemesis' and 'Satyam's scourge'.
Born in Hyderabad, the 47-year-old did his schooling in Hyderabad Public School (HPS) before getting a law degree from Osmania University.
Surender is a man of few words and likes to keep his answers short. In an interview with The News Minute, he opens up about the Dilsukhnagar blast case.
Were you expecting the death sentence in the Dilsukhnagar case? Do you feel victorious?
Yes. We were expecting that three of them would get the death sentence. However, the court stated that all five would. As far as the victory is concerned, I would call it a team effort, so the credit also goes to everybody.
Do you think the five accused will ever see the rope?
There is now a process which has to be followed. The sentence must first be confirmed by the High Court. After that, the convicts have an option to appeal to the Supreme Court. There is also an option to ask for a Presidential pardon. They have every right to appeal, and till all that is over, it remains to be seen as to what will happen.
What was the most unique thing about this case? Also, who would you credit for the speedy trial?
It was the way in which the crime was committed. There was loss of life, and so many people suffered. Many people were crippled and handicapped. The effects of the incident lingers even today.
As far the trial is concerned, I give complete credit to the witnesses. They were very cooperative, and deposed in time. They did their duty, which enabled us to do ours.
What was the toughest part of this case?
The toughest part was that there was no direct evidence in the case. It was all circumstantial evidence. We had to piece all the circumstances and evidence together, and make a case out of it. This was a challenge.
What is your take on criticism on communal lines that the NIA is taking longer in cases where the accused are non-Muslims?
What happened, is that in both the cases (Dilsukhnagar and Satyam), it was a special court, which is why the judgement came quickly. Another aspect, is that when things are going at a fast pace, it is in accordance with the law, as every accused has the right of a speedy trial guaranteed under the Constitution, irrespective of the result or outcome.
Any similarities or differences between the Dilsukhnagar case and the Satyam case?
One was a crime on people, while one was a crime on property. Either way, it was the common man who suffered. I'm glad that courts have taken care of both the cases and passed their judgement.
Lastly, were there any threats? Does it worry you to deal with high profile cases?
There were no direct threats as such. People around me have been saying, and even I know, that I have been dealing with sensitive issues. However, I don't think it is anything to worry about. Even if there is a threat, I am confident that the state will take care of it. I will continue doing my duty.