Ajmer Dargah blast: Devendra Gupta, Bhavesh Patel sentenced to life imprisonment

court in Jaipur on Wednesday sentenced two people to life imprisonment for the Ajmer Dargah blast in 2007 that killed three people and wounded 17.

The special NIA court had found Hindu right-wing activists Sunil Joshi and Devendra Gupta guilty of planning the blast, and Bhavesh Bhai Patel of planting the explosive.

Gupta, an RSS activist, and Patel will have to serve life in jail, the court ruled. They were convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy and under sections of the Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Joshi, the leader of an alleged Hindu extremist group, was shot dead on December 29, 2007, when he was walking back to his hideout at Chuna Khadan locality in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

In the high-profile case, the court had acquitted Aseemanand, also an accused in the Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid blasts, and others, giving them the “benefit of doubt”. Twenty-six witnesses turned hostile during the trial.

The explosion at the famous shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Rajasthan’s Ajmer on October 11, 2007, came to be known as an act of right-wing terror — a term that triggered a furious political debate — because of the arrests of the members of the right-wing outfits.

The National Investigation Agency took over the probe from the Rajasthan anti-terrorism squad. Initially, police blamed Islamic terror groups but later a confession by Aseemanand shifted the focus on Hindu groups.

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