A local court in Ahmedabad on Thursday acquitted six persons accused of hatching terror conspiracy to avenge the 2002 communal riots.
Firoz Ghaswala, Maohammad Ali Chippa, Vakil Ahmad, Umar Farookh, Anisul Bari and Muhibul Bari were arrested by the state Anti Terrorist Squad in May 2006 on charges of having links with Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami.
The ATS was then headed by D G Vanzara, who is presently behind bars in connection with the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and killing of his wife Kausarbi in 2005.
Principal District Judge G N Patel while acquitting the six persons observed that the investigating agency was not able to prove their case that the accused had taken terror related training in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The agency also could not prove any link between the accused and the banned organisations LeT and Huji, as it had contended, he said. Illyas Pathan, one of the lawyers representing the accused, said his clients were falsely implicated in the case by the ATS.
They were charged of hatching conspiracy to destroy Kandla port, Somnath temple and Sabarmati over-bridge in Ahmedabad city, he said.
The ATS had also accused them of sending Muslim youths from Gujarat to Pakistan and Bangladesh for getting trained in carrying out terror activities.
For this purpose they got support from one Azam Chima, the ATS had said. This was done to avenge the 2002 riots in which many persons of the minority community had died, Pathan said.
The ATS has also used phone call records showing that the accused were in touch with one other, to establish that they were involved in a conspiracy, he said, adding that the court rejected these arguments.
They were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Of the six, Firoz, Mohammad Ali, Anisul and Muhibul are also accused in another case registered in Delhi. While Vakil Ahmed and Umar Farookh hail from Ahmedabad, Firoz and Mohammad Ali are from Mumbai. Anisul and Muhibul are from Bangladesh.