6 HUJI men convicted in Sachin, Sourav kidnap plot



New Delhi: Six HuJI militants, including three Pakistanis, were day held guilty by a Delhi court for conspiring to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in 2002 to secure release of two jailed terrorists.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pinki pronounced the verdict in the case in which the convicts were also accused of plotting to assassinate former President A P J Abdul Kalam during his visit to Patna in 2002.

Delhi police had also charged them with conspiring to attack the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai.

The three Pakistan-based militants, Tariq Mohammed, Arshad Khan and Ashfaq Ahmed and two Indians -- Mufti Israr and Ghulam Qadir Bhatt -- were held guilty under the stringent anti-terror law POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), which has been repealed.

Sixth accused Ghulam Mohd Dar, who remained on bail, was taken into custody with the pronouncement of the verdict.

Immediately after the judgment, Dar's son Irfan, who was present outside the courtroom, broke down.

The court fixed January seven as the date for hearing the arguments on quantum of sentence.

The accused faced trial for offences of collecting arms with the intention to wage war against the government and conspiring to commit certain offences against the state.

Besides POTA, the accused were charged under the Arms Act and the three Pakistanis were also tried under the Foreigners Act for tresspassing into India.

Initially, the police had arrested ten HUJI militants including six Pakistanis in the case.

Out of them, three Pakistanis -- Mohd Amran, Abdul Majeed and Mohd Ashraf -- had pleaded guilty in 2003 and were awarded eight years jail term for their varying roles, besides the fine.

Jalaluddin, who was termed as the mastermind, managed to flee from the custody of police during the probe and was later declared as proclaimed offender by the court.

The prosecution had relied upon e-mail exchanges of the accused with their Pakistan-based handlers to drive home the charges.

Defence lawyer M S Khan had rebutted the claim saying the alleged e-mails were forged as most of the accused were in custody during that period.

The militants wanted to secure release of HuJI men Nasarullah Langrial and Abdul Rahim who were then lodged in jails here, prosecutor Anita Hooda had said.

PTI