Imprisonment for a Decade; Convicts had Ties with Terrorists

Story Highlights
  • 4 people linked to SIMI and Indian Mujahideen sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.
  • Accused have been identified as Dheeraj Sao, Pappu Mandal, Zubair Hussain and his wife Ayesha Bano.
  • Chhattisgarh Police have arrested at least 16 operatives of SIMI group in Nov 2013.

Raipur: Chhattisgarh’s Raipur court on Wednesday sentenced 4 people linked to banned groups SIMI and Indian Mujahideen to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) for using funds for terrorist activities. Additional District and Sessions Judge Ajay Singh Rajput convicted 4 – Dheeraj Sao (21), Pappu Mandal, Zubair Hussain (42) and his wife Ayesha Bano (39) under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The court said, “taking into account the evidence of the prosecution in the case and the entire circumstances of the incident, it appears that the act of the accused is intended to impair the sovereignty and integrity of India, which is not valid.”

Public Prosecutor KK Shukla said the judge sentenced the convicts to 10 years each under different sections of the UAPA. KK Shukla added that the court acquitted another accused Sukheen Halder (28), a native of West Bengal, and ordered his release if he was not required in other cases.

In December 2013, Dheeraj Sao, a resident of Jamui in Bihar, who ran a roadside eatery in Transport Nagar under the Khamtrai police station area of Raipur, was taken in by a team of the state’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for specific input about his link. Dheeraj Sao was channelling money received from a Pakistani national named Khalid through a bank account in Raipur and Jamui to people belonging to Indian Mujahideen and SIMI banned groups.

Later, another accused Sukheen Halder was arrested in the case, Shukla said. According to the prosecution, Dheeraj Sao had deposited cash through his account in the bank accounts of SIMI and IM operatives Zubair Hussain and Ayesha Bano in Mangaluru, Karnataka. Zubair Hussain and his wife Ayesha Bano were later arrested by a Bihar ATS team from Mangaluru on charges of terror funding. It is noteworthy that before the arrest of Dheeraj Sao, Chhattisgarh Police had busted a module of SIMI in November 2013 and arrested at least 16 operatives of this organization from Raipur.

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