Trial in Ahmedabad serial blast case concludes after 13 years

Ahmedabad, Sep 03 (PTI): Thirteen years after 56 people were killed in a series of bomb blasts in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, a special court here has concluded the trial against 77 accused, while reserving its verdict in the matter.
The prosecution examined over 1,100 witnesses in the lengthy trial, which began in December 2009, over a year after a series of bomb blasts rocked the city.
Special judge A R Patel on Thursday announced the conclusion of the trial and reserved the order.
At least 56 people were killed and over 200 injured in 21 bomb blasts that hit Ahmedabad city, within a span of 70 minutes, on July 26, 2008.
The police had claimed that people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts.
It was alleged that IM terrorists had planned these blasts as revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots, in which several persons from the minority community had died.
Days after the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, the police recovered bombs from different parts of Surat, following which 20 FIRs were registered in Ahmedabad and 15 in Surat. The trial was conducted after the court merged all 35 FIRs. Of the 85 accused arrested by the Gujarat police over a period of time, the trial commenced against 78 persons, and the number came down to 77, after one of the accused turned an approver during the trial. At least eight to nine accused in the case are still on the run, it was stated.
The accused are facing charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, and have also been booked under relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The special court initially used to sit in the Sabarmati Central Jail to hear the case, and the proceedings were later conducted mostly through video-conferencing.
When the trial was underway, some of the accused had allegedly tried to escape by digging a 213-feet long tunnel in the jail in 2013. The trial for this jailbreak attempt is still pending.

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