Akshardham temple terror-attack case: Key accused arrested after 15 yearsLast updated on Nov 04, 2017, 05:20 pm
Fifteen years after the deadly terror strike on the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat's Gandhinagar in September 2002, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch Police arrested Ajmeri Abdul Rashid, a key accused in the case.
Abdul Rashid, who had been in Saudi Arabia's Riyadh, arrived in Ahmedabad, earlier in the day today.
The cops arrested him from Ahmedabad's airport almost immediately after his arrival.
Abdul Rashid's brother was involved, too
Abdul Rashid is among the accused who left for Saudi Arabia after the Akshardham attack. He allegedly played a major role in the attack conspiracy.
His brother, Ajmeri Adam, was one of six persons charged by Gujarat Police for planning and executing the attack.
A lower court convicted Adam, but the Supreme Court acquitted all the six accused in 2014.
About the Akshardham Temple attack
On 24 Sep'02, two armed terrorists entered the Akshardham Temple in Gujarat's capital and attacked the devotees using automatic weapons and hand grenades.
About 30 people were killed, and 80 were injured in the terror attack.
The attack ended after the National Security Guards (NSG) intervened and killed both the attackers.
Two commandos and two state police officers also died in the attack.
Three accused individuals sentenced to death
Subsequently, the Gujarat Police arrested six persons involved in the planning and execution of the attack.
Three of them were sentenced to death (including Ajmeri Adam), one was awarded life imprisonment, and the two others were sentenced to ten and five-year prison terms by a special POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) court.
The Gujarat High Court upheld the sentences in 2010.
Religious fanatics incite crime in religion's name: Gujarat HC
In 2010, a Gujarat HC bench said the attack was plotted in Riyadh, and the terrorists were from Pakistan.
The weapons were procured from Jammu & Kashmir while logistics and other arrangements were made by men in Gujarat.
However, while upholding their sentences, the HC said that the accused individuals were also the victims of "religious fanatics" from Saudi and Pakistan.
Supreme Court acquits all six convicts
In May'14, all the six convicts in the Akshardham terror attack case were acquitted of all charged by the Supreme Court.
Delivering its judgment, the apex court had slammed the Gujarat Police for its poor investigation of the case.
It also said the evidence was insufficient to uphold conviction and the prosecution failed to establish that the accused were guilty.
Links with terror organizations
At the time, the prosecution claimed that the accused individuals were connected to the banned terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The investigators also alleged that some of them had links with the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI.