Ahmedabad 2008 serial blasts case verdict deferred as judge tests coronavirus positive

PTI, Feb 1, 2022, 1:28 PM IST

Ahmedabad:  A special court here on Tuesday deferred the verdict in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case as the judge concerned has tested positive for coronavirus, a senior public prosecutor said.

The court is now likely to pronounce the verdict on February 8, but the judge would confirm the date a few days in advance, he said.

At least 56 people were killed and over 200 injured in 21 bomb blasts that had hit Ahmedabad city within a span of 70 minutes on July 26, 2008. ”The verdict in the 2008 serial bomb blasts case was to be delivered today, but special judge A R Patel tested positive for the coronavirus on January 30 and is under home isolation,” senior public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt told reporters.

”Now, February 8 has been kept as the date for the verdict. The judge has, however, made it clear that he will confirm a few days in advance whether the verdict will be finally delivered on February 8. For now, the court has kept February 8 as the date for the judgement,” he said.

The police had claimed that people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts.

It was alleged that the IM terrorists had planned these blasts as a revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in which several people from the minority community had died.

Days after the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, the police recovered bombs from different parts of Surat, following which 20 FIRs were registered in Ahmedabad and 15 in Surat.

The trial was conducted after the court merged all the 35 FIRs. The trial, which began in December 2009, was conducted against 78 people. But, the number of accused later came down to 77 after one of them turned an approver during the course of trial. Four more accused were eventually arrested in the case, but their trial has not yet commenced, a senior government lawyer said. Over 1,100 witnesses were examined by the prosecution. The accused are facing charges of murder and criminal conspiracy, and have also been booked under relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The special court initially used to sit in the Sabarmati Central Jail to hear the case, and the proceedings were later conducted mostly through video-conferencing.

When the trial was underway, some of the accused had allegedly tried to escape by digging a 213-feet long tunnel in the jail in 2013. The trial for the jailbreak attempt is still pending.

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