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Charges framed in Akshardham case
June 17, 2004 22:53 IST
A Prevention of Terrorism Act court on Thursday framed charges against 24 people for their alleged role in the Akshardham temple attack, which claimed 33 lives.
The court framed charges against six people in crime branch custody, including the Kashmir-based Chand Khan, and 28 who are absconding.
Among the absconding is Abu Hamza, a radical cleric who is in the custody of British police in connection with other cases, and Ahmedabad-based cleric Mufti Sufiyan Patangiyan.
Patangiyan is wanted for allegedly conspiring the assassination of Gujarat BJP leader Haren Pandya.
Recording of evidence will begin from July 1, POTA judge Sonia Gokani said, adding close to 400 witnesses will be examined.
Defence advocates, however, said the prosecution had framed false charges and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the case.
Two heavily armed terrorists had entered the temple and opened fire at devotees on September 24, 2002.
A crack team of the National Security Guard was sent to Gandhinagar and after hours of gunfight they managed to kill the terrorists by daybreak.
The investigation was handed over to the crime branch after the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Gujarat police failed to make any headway.
The crime branch got a major breakthrough when the J&K police arrested Chand Khan -- a man who allegedly played a crucial role in the attack.
More reports from Gujarat
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