Charges framed against 23 alleged IM members

Five years after Mumbai police arrested 23 alleged members of Indian Mujahideen, a court framed charges, paving way for their trial.

Mumbai: Five years after the Mumbai police arrested 23 alleged members of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen for sending emails to media houses and government before bomb blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, a court here today framed charges, paving way for their trial.

All these serial blasts had taken place in 2008; in Surat, police had found unexploded bombs. The emails owning responsibility, purportedly sent by IM, were sent from Mumbai.

Judge A L Pansare of the special court for Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) court framed charges against the 23 arrested accused and the five absconding ones including Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal on 29 counts.

After the judge explained them the charges in Hindi, all the accused pleaded innocence.

Charges were framed for `waging war against the country`, under IPC, for being a member of IM under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for sending emails "containing malicious and vitriolic material primarily of waging war against India", and under provisions of Arms Act, Explosives Act and Information Technology Act, apart from the MCOCA.

Afzal Usmani, one of the accused, had given police the slip on September 20 from Sessions Court here. He was recaptured, but the MCOCA court was then shifted to Arthur Road jail.

Usmani is accused of involvement in stealing four cars which were used to transport explosives to Ahmedabad and Surat. He is also charged with planting bombs.

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