38 accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case were sentenced to death by a special court designated for speedy trial of the case. Eleven others were sentenced to life in jail.
According to lawyers, this is the highest number of convicts to be sentenced to death in a single case in India’s legal history.
The death sentence was awarded under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 10 and 16 (1) (a) (b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). A fine of Rs 25,000 was also imposed on each of the 38 for each of the three offenses.
The life imprisonment of 11 others came under IPC Section 302 and UAPA Sections 10 and 16 (1) (a) (b). A penalty of Rs 25,000 each was also imposed on them.
Apart from the aforementioned provisions, all 49 convicted were also sentenced to life imprisonment under four provisions of the law — UAPA Section 20, Explosive Substances Act section 3, and IPC sections 124 A (sedition), 121 A (waging war against the state). All the sentences shall be running concurrently.
One of the convicted, Mohammad Usman Agarbattiwala from Vadodara, who was the only one found guilty under the Arms Act’s Section 25(1)(B)(a), was awarded a year of imprisonment under the said provision.
The court also directed to provide compensation to the victims from the fine amount collected from those convicted. Special Judge A R Patel has directed payment of Rs. 1 lakh for the 56 victims who died, Rs. 50,000 for those who suffered serious injuries, and Rs. 25,000 for those who suffered minor ones.
48 convicts shall each pay a Rs 2.85 lakh fine, while Agarbattiwala will pay Rs 2.88 lakh.
As many as 22 bombs had gone off in Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, at various spots, including the state government-run civil hospital, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run LG Hospital, on buses, parked bicycles, in cars, and other places killing 56 persons and leaving 200 injured. Of the total 24 bombs, one each at Kalol and Naroda did not go off.
The explosions were allegedly carried out by the Indian Mujahideen, believed to be a regrouping of the banned organization, SIMI.