Death penalty to 7 IS operatives in Kanpur terror conspiracy case; 1 gets life term

New Delhi, March 1 : A Special National Investigation Court (NIA) Court in Lucknow has awarded death penalty to seven IS operatives and life term to another in connection with the 2017 Kanpur terror conspiracy case. The IS operatives were booked under various sections of the IPC, UA(P), Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act. On Tuesday, while the court awarded death sentence to Mohammad Faisal, Gauss Mohammad Khan, Mohammad Azhar, Atif Muzaffar, Mohammad Danish, Sayed Meer Hussain and Asif Iqbal alias Rocky, it gave life term to Mohammad Atif. The case against the eight accused was initially registered at Police Station ATS, Lucknow and later, the probe was taken over by the NIA. Earlier, the NIA investigations had revealed that the accused had prepared and tested some IEDs and tried to plant them at various locations in Uttar Pradesh. A notebook was seized from their Haji Colony (Lucknow) which contained handwritten notes about potential targets and details about bomb making. Investigations had also led to the discovery of several photographs of the accused making IEDs and even with weapons, ammunition and the IS flag. "The group had reportedly collected illegal weapons, explosives from various places. One of the accused, Atif Muzaffar, had also disclosed that he had compiled information on techniques to fabricate IEDs after collecting materials from various internet sources," the NIA said. Investigations had also revealed that Atif and three others, identified as Md Danish, Syed Meer Hasan and Md Saifulla, had been responsible for fabricating the IED that was planted in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train. The train explosion took place on March 7, 2017, in which ten persons had suffered severe injuries. This case was also investigated by the NIA and is currently under trial. "The breakthrough in the IS-backed criminal conspiracy case came when the main accused, identified as Md Faisal, was arrested for his involvement in the M P train explosion of March 2017. Disclosures made by him led to the arrest of two of his associates, Gauss Mohammad Khan alias Karan Khatri and Azhar Khan alias Azhar Khalifa," the official said. After taking over the investigations, NIA arrested five more accused in the case. They were identified as Atif Muzaffar, Mohammad Danish, Asif Iqbal alias Rocky and Mohammad Atif alias Atif Iraqi and Sayed Meer Hussain. A charge sheet was filed by the NIA against all the eight arrested accused on August 31, 2017. Investigations in the case had clearly shown that the accused were members of IS and had sworn 'bayat' (allegiance) to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Atif Muzaffar was the group's Emir (leader) and was influenced by the propaganda of Dr Zakir Naik. He was found to be a frequent visitor of IS-related websites, from where he was downloading contents and videos and sharing it with the others in his group. All eight had come together to propagate IS ideology and promote its activities in India. In pursuit of this objective, Mohammad Faisal, Gauss Mohammad Khan, Atif Muzaffar, Md Danish, Md Saifulla had explored land routes. They had visited several key cities across the country, including Kolkata, Sundarbans, Srinagar, Amritsar, Wagha Border, Badmer, Jaisalmer, Mumbai, and Kozhikode, for undertaking 'hijrah' (migration). Gauss Mohammad Khan and Atif Muzaffar had, in fact, explored a route to cross over to Bangladesh via Sundarbans, as per the investigations. Faisal, Atif and Saifulla had also travelled to Kashmir in March 2016 in a bid to contact some terrorist groups that could help them to cross over to Pakistan, from where they could migrate to ISIS controlled territories in Syria. Another accused, Saifulla, was killed during an exchange of fire with ATS UP on March 7, 2017, in Haji Colony. The Police had seized several weapons and incriminating documents from the group's hideout in Haji Colony. These seizures included a huge cache of arms, ammunition, electronic gadgets and other materials required to fabricate IEDs, and documents, an ISIS flag, eight Pistols, four knives, 630 rounds live cartridges, 62 rounds fired cartridges, five gold coins and cash Rs 62,055, foreign currencies, cheques, passports, five Mobile phones were recovered from them. /IANS


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