[Gulzar Azmi of Jamiat Ulema Legal Cell talking to media after the court verdict (ummid.com photo]
Mumbai: The Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Thursday convicted twelve accused and acquitted ten in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. Among the 12 convicted is alleged LeT operative and 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal.
The special court framed charges against the 22 arrested accused. However, the trail was stayed by the Supreme Court for a temporary period after one the accused challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of MCOCA.
The stay was vacated in 2009. In August last year, the Bombay high court directed the lower court to expedite the trial.
Those convicted besides Abu Jundal are Moh Amer Shakil Shaikh, Muzaffar Tanveer, Mushtaq Ah M Ishaq, Javed Ah Ab Majeed, Afzal Khan Nabi Khan, Dr. M Sharif Shabbir A, Bilal Ahm Ab Razaq, Sattad Aakif, Afroz Khan, Faisal Ataur Rehman and Moh Aslam.
Rest 10 accused were acquitted by the court. Eight who have been set free by the court are Riyaz Ahemad, Abdul Azeem, Imran Khatik, Vaqar Ah, Abdus Samad, Zubair Ah, Aqueel Momin and Feeroz Deshmukh.
The MCOCA court said that this was a larger conspiracy to strike terror and they (accused) were calling it ‘jihad’.
"This was a conspiracy after the 2002 Gujarat riots to eliminate then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia," the MCOCA court said.
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.
The Indica, allegedly driven by Jundal, managed to give police the slip. Jundal, who hails from Beed district of Maharashtra, drove to Malegaon and a few days later he escaped to Bangladesh from where he fled to Pakistan, according to the state police.