Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court granted
bail to 13 persons convicted under POTA in a case regarding an
ISI-backed terror conspiracy after the 2002 post-Godhra
A division bench of Justice D H Waghela and M D Shah
granted bail to Afzal Khan Pathan and 12 others on bond of Rs
50,000 each and solvent surety of equal amount.
Out of the 22 persons convicted, 14 had applied for bail
along with appeals in the high court challenging the POTA
court`s verdict convicting them.
13 of them were granted bail by the court today, which
was the first instance wherein POTA convicts were granted
According to the lawyer representing one of the accused
Khalid Sheikh, the bail was granted by the court on two
counts, firstly the convicts have been in jail for more than
seven years against the 10-year term awarded to them by the
POTA court in January this year.
Also the documents related to the case was so huge that
proceedings on convicts` appeal could not commence in near
future, he said, adding during the hearing, POTA court had
informed high court that compilation of case papers might take
nearly six months.
In January this year, the POTA court had sentenced 18 of
the 22 convicted to 10 years in jail, three for nine years and
one for three years.
They were accused of crossing the border and going to
Pakistan to take terror training to "avenge the 2002 riots and
also planning to attack state leaders including Gujarat Chief
Minister Narendra Modi.
36 accused are still absconding in the case which include
Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Rasool Party and Mufti Sufiyan
The case was initially filed in 2003 by the city crime
branch against over 60 persons for undertaking terrorist
activity and hatching a larger conspiracy to avenge 2002
riots. However, the trial commenced against 56 persons in a
special POTA court.
Two accused were discharged from the case by the court
since they were already convicted in Haren Pandya murder case.
Also, POTA charges against 10 other accused were dropped
after Gujarat High Court upheld the POTA Review Committee`s
recommendations and ordered to separate their trial.
Finally, trial was conducted against 44 accused and it
lasted over six years before three different special judges --
Sonia Gokani, N A Acharya and Jyotsnaben Yagnik.