A court here today convicted 18 people, including founder member of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) Safdar Nagori, for being members of a terrorist organisation in a case of organising arms training camp in Kerala in 2007.
Special NIA court judge Kauser Edappagath convicted the 18 people under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Substances Act and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and acquitted 17 others in the case.
The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment tomorrow.
According to the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the participants at the "secret training camp" had engaged in physical training, firing practice, training in explosives, motorcycle racing, rope climbing, besides classes on "jihad" in India.
The court rejected the NIA's charges against the accused under sections 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against the Government of India), 124-A (attempts to spread disaffection towards government) and 153-A (spread enmity between communities) of the IPC.
Besides 48-year-old Nagori, the others convicted today are Saduli, P A Shibily, Mohammed Ansar and Abdul Sathar (all from Kerala); Hafeez Hussain, Mohammed Sami Bagevadi, Nadeem Sayeed, Dr H A Asadulla, Shakeel Ahammed and Mirza Ahmed Baig (Karnataka); Aamil Parwaz and Kamaruddin Nagori (Madhya Pradesh); Mufti Abul Bashar (Uttar Pradesh); Danish and Manzar Imam (Jharkhand); Mohammed Abu Faisal Khan (Maharashtra); and Alam Jeb Afridi (Gujarat).
While only two accused were produced today in the court, the others who are lodged in various jails in Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Bengaluru, attended the proceedings through video-conference.
Nagori, who was the founder member of SIMI in India, is believed to have been radicalised after the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992.
Son of a policeman in Madhya Pradesh, Nagori's name first surfaced in police records in 1998 for alleged anti-national activities.
He continued playing 'hide and seek' game with the police till he was arrested in Madhya Pradesh in 2008. SIMI had been banned in 2001 as a terror organisation for being "suppliers" of cadres to terror groups such as Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami in carrying out activities in India and Afghanistan.
The case was originally registered at Mundakayam on June 21, 2008 and the probe was handed over to the NIA in January 2010.
The first charge sheet was filed in 2011, followed by supplementary charge sheets in 2013 and 2015, against 38 people.
Trial in the case commenced in January last year and 33 accused persons lodged in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal and Bengaluru prisons were produced through video-conference, while the remaining two accused were produced in person.
One charge-sheeted accused, Wasik Billa, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Prdesh, has been absconding, while another, Mehboob of Madhya Pradesh, was killed in an encounter in Bhopal in October, 2016.
Another accused, Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tawqeer, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested in the case recently.
The prosecution examined 77 witnesses through whom 252 documents and 43 material objects got exhibited, while the defence examined three witnesses during the trial.
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