Two members of Hindu right wing group Sanathan Sanstha were on Tuesday sentenced to ten years' rigorous imprisonment by a court in Mumbai for their role in carrying out three bomb blasts in Thane and Panvel in 2008.
Accused Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari and Vikram Vinay Bhave were on Monday found guilty of lesser offences under the Indian penal code and under the provisions Explosives Substances Act for causing low-intensity blasts in which eight persons were injured.
The court, however, acquitted them of more serious charges of 307 IPC (attempt to murder), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) and various provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
After hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence, Judge N V Nhavkar sentenced them to 10 years' RI each under sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Explosives Substances Act. They were also fined with Rs 9,500 each.
The duo also received three years' RI under section 324 IPC, one year under 201 IPC, three years under 427 IPC and one year each under Section 3 and 4 of Damage to Public Properties Act.
The sessions court acquitted four other accused--Mangesh Nikam, Santosh Angre, Haribhau Divekar and Hemant Chalkefor lack of evidence and prosecution's failure to prove the charges.
The Thane blast had occurred in Gadkari Rangayatan auditorium which left eight persons injured on June 4, 2008. It was carried out to protest the staging of a Marathi play.
Two other explosions were triggered in two theatres in Panvel, Navi Mumbai, which screened the Hindi film 'Jodha Akbar'. However, no one was injured in these blasts. According to prosecution, the blasts were carried out by the accused as they felt that Hindi movie 'Jodha Akbar' and Marathi play 'Ahmi PachPute' lampooned Hindu gods and epic Mahabharat.
Gadkari and Bhave had been found guilty under IPC sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 427 (mischief causing damage to property). The duo was also held guilty of offences under Explosives Substances Act.
According to prosecution, the motorcycle, which blew up outside Gadkari auditorium in Thane, was registered in the name of another rightwing group Gurukripa Prathistan, linked to Sanatan Sanstha. Investigation revealed that Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari had used the two wheeler.
After Gadkari's arrest, other accused, Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, Vikram Vinay Bhave, Santosh Sitaram Angre, Haribhau Krishna Divekar and Hemant Tukaram Chalke were taken into custody.
According to Anti-Terrorism Squad, which probed the blast, Gadkari and his accomplices had been planning to trigger an explosion in early 2008 for which they had purchased Gelatin sticks and electronic detonators.
The chargesheet also said that Gadkari and other accused Bhave had gone to Bihar to buy country-made revolvers and cartridges and carried out firing practice and test blasts in forests.
The ATS said that the accused hatched the conspiracy at Panvel and Warsi in nearby Pen district. Gadkari, Nikam and Bhave were accused of making bombs.
The prosecution had examined 105 witnesses to prove their case.