A special NIA court on Tuesday sentenced 18 SIMI members, including its leader Safdar Nagori, to seven years rigorous imprisonment (RI) after they were banned outfit in Kerala in 2007.
Special NIA court Judge Kauser Edappagath also sentenced them to varying terms of imprisonment under different sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Explosives Substances Act (ESA) and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
They were sentenced to one-year RI under Section 10 and five years under Section 38 of the UAPA, seven years RI under Section 4 of the ESA and seven years under the IPC’s Section 120(B). The sentences would run concurrently.
Fourteen convicts, who have been in judicial custody for more than seven years will get the benefit of set off allowed by the court, a defence lawyer said.
The court had on Monday acquitted 17 others in the case.
The case was registered by the Kerala Police against Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) members for holding an arms training camp in December 2007 at Thangalpara in Kerala’s Wagamon.
The charge-sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) said the participants at the “secret training camp” had engaged in physical training, firing practice, training in explosives, motorcycle racing, rope climbing, besides classes on “jihad” in India.
The court had rejected the NIA’s charges against the accused under IPC sections 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against the Government of India), 124-A (attempts to spread disaffection towards the government) and 153-A (spread enmity between communities).
Besides 48-year-old Nagori, the others sentenced today were Saduli, P A Shibily, Mohammed Ansar and Abdul Sathar (all from Kerala); Hafeez Hussain, Mohammed Sami Bagevadi, Nadeem Sayeed, Dr H A Asadulla, Shakeel Ahammed and Mirza Ahmed Baig (Karnataka); Aamil Parwaz and Kamaruddin Nagori (Madhya Pradesh); Mufti Abul Bashar (Uttar Pradesh); Danish and Manzar Imam (Jharkhand); Mohammed Abu Faisal Khan (Maharashtra); and Alam Jeb Afridi (Gujarat).
Nagori, founder member of SIMI in India, is believed to have been radicalised after the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992.
Son of a policeman from Madhya Pradesh, his name first surfaced in police records in 1998 for alleged anti-national activities.
He continued playing “hide and seek” with the police till his arrest in Madhya Pradesh in 2008.
SIMI had been banned in 2001 as a terror outfit for being “suppliers” of cadres to terror groups such as the Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami in carrying out activities in India and Afghanistan.
The case was originally registered at Mundakayam on June 21, 2008, and the probe was handed over to the NIA in January 2010.
The first charge-sheet was filed in 2011, followed by supplementary charge sheets in 2013 and 2015 against 38 people.
The trial commenced in January last year and 33 accused persons lodged in prisons in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal and Bengaluru were produced through video-conference, while the remaining two accused were produced in person.
One charge-sheeted accused, Wasik Billa, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, has been absconding, while another, Mehboob of Madhya Pradesh, was killed in an encounter in Bhopal in October, 2016.
Another accused, Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tawqeer, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested in the case recently.
The prosecution examined 77 witnesses through whom 252 documents and 43 material objects got exhibited, while the defence examined three witnesses during the trial.