Special NIA court convicts 18 in SIMI arms training camp case

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Kochi: A special court on Tuesday sent 18 Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) cadres, including its founder member Sardar Nagori, to seven years in prison in connection with Vagamon arms training camp case.

Special NIA court judge Kauser Edappagath on Monday convicted the 18 men under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Substances Act and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and acquitted 17 others in the case. Sources in the NIA said the agency was satisfied about the court's verdict.

Pronouncing the sentence, the court also imposed a fine of ₹25000 on each of the accused. Only two of the accused were produced in the court on Monday. According to the investigators, the camp had become the de-facto launch-pad for a series of terror activities in the country. Hafeez Hussain, a SIMI member from Karnataka, was charged as being one of the main organisers of the camp in which SIMI cadres from Gujarat, Karnataka, Bhopal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were taken to Thangalpara, a hilly region in Wagamon and given training in combat, bike riding, handling firearms, rope climbing along with indoctrination lectures in jihad for two days as per the charge sheet. Another accused Mehboob Mallick was shot dead while trying to escape from Bhopal Central Jail in 2016. Wasiq Billa is the sole accused absconding in the terror camp case.

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Founder-member of the Indian Mujahideen, Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Taqueer, nicknamed Indian Bin Laden, also attended the secret camp. The agency had found that six engineers and three doctors had participated in the camp. The role of several of the accused had been identified in the explosions that had occurred at Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhopal. The prosecution said the SIMI members met in Indore in November 2007 and chose to run training camps in some states.

They also allegedly conducted "jihadi" classes in the camp with an intention to train the cadres to advocate, incite and abet unlawful, terrorist activities, disrupt communal harmony and causing threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, thereby waging war against Government of India.