Mumbai: The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on Thursday delivered the verdict on the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case and found 12 accused including Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal guilty of waging war against the nation. The MCOCA special court said the arms haul was part of a "larger conspiracy to eliminate" the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and VHP leader Pravin Togadia in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The court also dropped MCOCA charges in the case, in which 22 people, including Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, were arrested. The court accepted prosecution's case that the aim of the convicted accused was to create terror in the minds of people and to eliminate public leaders like then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Hindu leader Pravin Togadia.
The court also said that this was a conspiracy to strike terror by the accused in the name of 'jihad'. In February 2013, charges were framed against Abu Jundal in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case under sections of MCOCA, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act.
Jundal is also suspected to have played a key role in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. He is an accused in the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune and an alleged plotter for attacks on vital installations in Nashik.
On 8 May, 2006, a Maharashtra ATS team had chased a Tata Sumo and an Indica car on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad and arrested three terror suspects and seized 30 kg RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets.
The Indica was allegedly driven by Jundal, who managed to give police the slip. Jundal, who hails from Beed district of Maharashtra then allegedly drove to Malegaon and handed over the vehicle to an acquaintance and a few days later he escaped to Bangladesh from where he fled to Pakistan, according to the state police.
Jundal was arrested in Delhi following his deportation from Saudi Arabia in 2012. The NIA had chargesheeted Jundal here for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror activities in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Aurangabad arms haul case.
During the trial, the prosecution examined 100 witnesses while defence lawyers examined 16. The trial was stayed by the Supreme Court for a while after one of the accused challenged constitutional validity of certain provisions of MCOCA. The stay was vacated in 2009. In August last year, the Bombay High Court directed the lower court to expedite the trial.