Mumbai: Abu Jundal, an accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case, was convicted today along with 11 others in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. The court accepted the prosecution's argument that the men wanted to strike terror and attack leaders like Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, and Praveen Togadia as an act of revenge for the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
The arms haul was made on May 8, 2006, when a Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad team chased down a Tata Sumo and an Indica near Aurangabad. They managed to catch the Tata Sumo, from which three men were arrested. The team also seized 30kg RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets, which were in the car.
Abu Jundal, who was allegedly in the Indica when the arrests happened, managed to give police the slip. Jundal, who is from Beed district of Maharashtra, drove to Malegaon and a few days later, he escaped to Bangladesh from where he fled to Pakistan, the police said. In 2012, he was deported to India from Saudi Arabia.
Trial in the case started in March 2013. Quantum of sentence in the case is expected in a few hours.
Ten others were acquitted in the case. The court, however, dropped the stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) charges against the convicted men. "This was a larger conspiracy to strike terror and they (the accused) were calling it jihad," the court observed.
One of the accused, Feroz Deshmukh, a former employee of Dr Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation, has been acquitted due to lack of evidence.