Former Gujarat minister gets 20 years for Surat blasts (Second Lead)

October 4th, 2008 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Oct 4 (IANS) Former Gujarat minister Mohammed Surti of the Congress and five others were Saturday sentenced to 20 years’ in jail for involvement in the 1993 twin Surat bombings in which a girl was killed and 40 people were wounded. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court here Saturday also fined the six Rs.200,000 each.

The special court found Surti guilty, along with 11 others, in connection with the April 1993 grenade blast near Surat Railway Station aimed at the Gujarat Express stationed there. Nearly 40 people were injured in the explosion. The court however acquitted six others.

The second blast had occurred near Sadhna School in Varacha area of Surat, killing a schoolgirl.

The grenade blast had rocked Surat after the deadly Mumbai serial blasts in March in which 257 people were killed. Surti is said to have procured hand grenades and other weapons from the late Ahmedabad don Abdul Latif. Police sources said a part of the arms consignment of the notorious D Company too had reached Surat to cause communal tension in Gujarat’s financial capital.

The second blast in which Surti is also accused had occurred near Sadhna School in Varacha area of Surat, killing a school girl, Ankita Patel, and wounding 16 others. An ex-gratia of Rs.210,000 for the girl’s family has also been announced. Surti’s son Farooq Surti is also wanted in the case.

The 1993 Surat blasts saw the involvement of Dawood’s henchmen Rasoot Parti and Abdul Latif in the supply of arms. Latif was later shot dead by the Ahmedabad police in 1997 while trying to escape from custody. Rasool Parti was later the prime accused in the murder of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya in Ahmedabad in 2003, and is now believed to be in Pakistan with Dawood Ibrahim. Parti has over 40 criminal cases registered against him in Ahmedabad alone.

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