The prosecution today sought maximum punishment of life imprisonment for the 12 convicts including Lashkar-e-Taiba operative and 26/11 Mumbai attack plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, in the 2006 Aurangabad Arms Haul case till August 2.
The special MCOCA court here reserved its order on quantum of sentence till August 2. Special prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade said the entire world was now fighting the terror menace and the convicts were preparing to carry out acts of terrorism.
Rebutting the defence’s argument that the convicts were merely footsoldiers and not the masterminds, Bagade said they were participating in the crime of their own will and not under somebody’s pressure or under duress. “The convicts were part of the conspiracy too,” Bagade said.
He also pointed out that Yakub Memon, convicted in 1993 Mumbai blasts case, was not the mastermind of the conspiracy, yet the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.
The background of the accused, family or other facts should not be given consideration while convicting, he argued. “The main accused are still absconding and if lesser sentence is awarded to the convicts, they (the convicts) may be harmful to the society,” Bagade argued.
Some of the convicts were accused in other terror cases too, he pointed out. The arms and ammunition seized by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had come from Pakistan and were to be used in India, the prosecutor said.
On May 8, 2006, an ATS team chased two cars on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad and seized 30 kg of RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets, arresting three persons. Jundal, who was driving one of the cars, escaped.
He later fled the country, and was deported to India from Saudi Arabia in 2012. On July 28, the special court for Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act cases convicted 12 persons including Jundal and acquitted eight others.