A special court on Tuesday held five operatives of banned Indian Mujahideen including a Pakistani national guilty in the 2013 twin bomb blasts case.
Pronouncing the judgement, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court fixed December 19 for announcing the quantum of punishment.
Those found guilty include one of the IM’s founders, Yaseen Bhatkal alias Ahmed Siddibappa Zaraar, brother of Riyaz Bhatkal, the brain behind the blasts.
Riyaz, a resident of Karnataka’s Bhatkal town, is suspected to be hiding in Pakistan and NIA has already issued Interpol Red Corner notice for him.
Zia ur Rehman alias Waqas, a resident of Mustafabad of Pakistan’s Punjab province is among the convicted.
Others found guilty are Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi of Uttar Pradesh, Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu of Bihar, and Aizaz Saeed Shaik alias Aijaz Shaikh of Maharashtra.
“This is the first case in which any operative of the Indian Mujahideen have been convicted,” the NIA said in a statement.
All five have been convicted for offences including waging war against nation, criminal conspiracy and murder.
The twin blasts in Dilsukhnagar area in Hyderabad on February 21, 2013, killed 18 persons, including one unborn child in mother’s womb, and injured 131 others.
The NIA, which probed the case, arrested Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar from India-Nepal border in August 2013. Tahseen Akhtar and Rehman were arrested by Delhi Police from Rajasthan in March 2014. Shaikh was arrested subsequently.
The investigating agency filed three charge sheets in the case. Charges were framed against the five accused on July 16, 2015 and the trial commenced on August 24 the same year.
The trial had been going on in the special court at Cherlapally Central Prison on the city outskirts where the five accused are currently lodged.
The NIA said during the trial, the prosecution examined a total of 157 witnesses. A total 486 exhibits and 173 material objects were marked during the trial as evidence.
The twin blasts occurred within a distance of 100 metres at crowded places in shopping area Dilsukhnagar on the evening of February 21, 2013.