The key plotter of 26/11 Mumbai attacks Abu Jundal has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Aurangabad arms haul case in 2006.
A special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court in Mumbai sentenced Jundal, an LeT operative, and six others to life imprisonment on Tuesday morning.
Apart from the seven who got life imprisonment, two others have been handed out 14 years of imprisonment and three others have been awarded eight years jail.
While pronouncing the verdict, the court observed that it had taken into consideration the gravity of offence, lack of remorse (of the accused) and potential effect on common man in the case.
On July 28, ten years after ATS recovered a huge haul of arms near Aurangabad, the special court convicted 12 persons and acquitted eight others in the case but dropped the stringent MCOCA charge against them.
On May 8, 2006, a Maharashtra ATS team chased a Tata Sumo and an Indica car on Chandwad-Manmad Highway near Aurangabad and arrested three terror suspects and seized 30kg of RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets.
Jundal alias Zabiuddin Ansari, who was allegedly driving the Indica, managed to give the police a slip.
Earlier the court had observed that the accused had a common thought process and wanted to wage “jihad”.
The judge had also accepted prosecution’s case that the accused wanted to strike terror in the minds of the people and wanted to eliminate public figures like (the then) Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and Hindu leader Praveen Togadia (of VHP).
The judge had also said that the accused wanted to avenge developments that unfolded after the 2002 Godhra riots.
The court had accepted the prosecution’s contention that the cache of arms and ammunitions that the ATS had intercepted from two cars had originally been procured from Pakistan.
According to the police, after the ATS intercepted the vehicles, Jundal, who hails from Beed district, drove to Malegaon and a few days later he escaped to Bangladesh from where he fled to Pakistan.
Later, Jundal was deported to India from Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The MCOCA court had last week convicted Jundal under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substance Act and Indian Penal Code. But charges against them under MCOCA were dropped.
The special court had framed charges against the 22 accused in August 2013.
(With inputs from PTI)