SIMI founder, 17 others guilty in Kerala terror camp case

An NIA court will announce the quantum of punishment for the convicted later

An NIA court will announce the quantum of punishment for the convicted later

Special NIA Court on Monday convicted 18 people and acquitted 17 others in the 2007 Vagamon SIMI arms training camp case in Kerala.

The agency alleged that the SIMI cadres were involved in physical training, arms training, firing practices, manufacture of bombs/petrol bombs, motor bike racing and rope climbing practices in the camp.

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These accused persons were found guilty of offense under UnlawfulActivities Prevention Act (UAPA) sections- 10 (being member of the unlawful association) and 38 (member who associate with the terrorist organisation); Explosive Substances Act section 4 for possession of explosive substances and section 120 (b) of IPC for criminal conspiracy.

NIA Prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta said the verdict was welcoming one as 18 accused persons could be found guilty by the court.

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Four Keralites, including two brothers, Shimli and Shibli (both engineering graduates), are among the convicted. While one accused, Mehaboob Shiekh, was shot dead when he attempted to escape from jail in Bihar, another (Wasiq Billa) is suspected to have fled to Pakistan. Six of the convicted are from Karnataka, four from Kerala, three from Madhya Pradesh, two from Jharkhand, and one each from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Mumbai. The role of several of the accused had been identified in the explosions that had occurred at Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhopal.

The trial in the sensational Vagamon SIMI camp case had started a year ago at the NIA court here after a charge sheet was filed before the special court. The authorities had come under heavy criticism over the failure of the Intelligence agencies in acquiring information about such a planned training camp. It is alleged that in and around November 2007, office bearers and functionaries of SIMI, a banned organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, entered into a criminal conspiracy in Choral, Indore, Madhya Pradesh to conduct training camps for their active cadres. The SIMI operatives had also allegedly conducted classes at the Vagamon camp for training the operatives to advocate, incite and abet terror activities and to disrupt communal harmony.

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