A National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court sentenced two accused — Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta — to life imprisonment on Wednesday in the Ajmer dargah blasts that took place in 2007 claiming the lives of three people. Both the convicts were activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the past.
The NIA court had previously convicted three people and acquitted several others in the case. RSS worker Swami Aseemanand was one of the accused who was acquitted due to lack of substantial evidence. Sunil Joshi, who was the third convict and an RSS activist, died in December 2007 under mysterious circumstances.
Both Patel and Gupta have been convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act and several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy. NIA Special Judge Dinesh Gupta has also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Patel and Rs 5,000 on Gupta. This is the first time RSS cadres have been convicted and sentenced in a terror-related case.
However, the convicts will challenge the judgement in the High Court, Defence counsel Jagdish Rana told reporters.
At least three people died and 17 others were injured in the blast that took place at the shrine of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti during Ramzan on October 11, 2007. There were around 5,000 devotees inside the dargah when the explosion happened during iftaar (breaking of fast). The Rajasthan unit of the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) investigated the case initially following which it was transferred to the NIA. Around 149 witnesses and 451 documents were examined. The NIA had also filed three supplementary charge sheets in regard to the matter.