NIA court sentences five to jail terms in Khagragarh blast

Kolkata, Nov 15 (PTI) A special NIA court on Friday sentenced five accused in the Khagragarh blast case to varying terms from five years to six years in jail after convicting them for conspiracy and waging war against the country and under various provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The five had pleaded guilty for the blast, in which two suspected terrorists were killed and a third was injured while they were making bombs and explosive devices in a rented house at Khagragarh in Burdwan district of West Bengal.

Links with terror group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were found in the blast that took place on October 2, 2014.

Siddhartha Kanjilal, the chief judge at City Sessions Court who was presiding over the special NIA court, sentenced Enamul Haq and Habibur Rahaman to five years' rigorous imprisonment.

The court sentenced Habibur Sheikh, Faizul Rahaman and Burhan Sheikh to six years' rigorous imprisonment, NIA lawyer Shyamal Ghosh said.

Judge Kanjilal also slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on each of the five convicts. Failure to pay the fine would invite an additional year in jail for them.

The special NIA court had on August 30 given varying jail terms to 19 people, including four Bangladeshi nationals, in the case.

Among those sentenced, two were women.

All the 19, out of a total 31 accused in the case, had admitted their guilt and were given jail terms of six to ten years.

They were convicted for conspiracy and waging war against the country and under various provisions of UAPA, apart from the Explosives Act and the Arms Act against some of them.

With the conviction and sentencing of 24 of the 31 accused, trial of the remaining seven will continue, Ghosh said.

According to the NIA counsel the accused were 'indirectly or directly involved with the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and aimed to destabilise the Bangladeshi government by trying to utilise Indian soil'.

The NIA had filed the primary charge sheet in the case in March, 2015, in which it said there was a 'conspiracy of JMB, a proscribed terrorist organisation in Bangladesh, to overthrow the existing democratic government in Bangladesh through violent terrorist acts'.

The investigation into the case was first taken up by the West Bengal CID and was transferred to the NIA within a few days. PTI AMR KK SOMSOM