Lucknow, Sep 15 (Fresh Headline) A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has sentenced to death two men – Atif Muzaffar and Mohammad Faisal Khan – convicted of murdering of retired school principal Ramesh Babu Shukla in UP’s Kanpur in furtherance of an ISIS conspiracy, an official said on Friday.
An anti-terror probe agency spokesperson said that the court here on Thursday sentenced them to death under three separate charges, while concurrently being awarding life sentence and simple imprisonment under various other criminal offences.
The duo had even earlier been sentenced to death in another ISIS Kanpur case of the NIA.
The official said that Muzaffar and Khan, both residents of Kanpur have been awarded the death penalty and also fined Rs 5 lakh under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC.
“They have been also sentenced to death, along with Rs 50,000 fine, under Section 120B of the IPC, besides being awarded the death penalty with fine of Rs 5 lakh under several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” the official said.
“The court further convicted them under section 18 of UA (P) Act and pronounced life imprisonment with Rs 1 lakh in fine on the said charge. In addition, they have been sentenced to three years simple imprisonment with fine of Rs 10,000 under several sections of the Arms Act,” the official said.
On September 4, the NIA court had found the accused guilty of killing the retired school principal of Swami Atmaprakash Brahmachari Junior High School in Kanpur on October 24, 2016, near Pyondi village in Kanpur.
“One more accused Mohammad Saifulla had died in exchange of fire with the Anti-Terrorist Squad, UP, on the night of March 7, 2017,” the official said.
The official said that a charge sheet against the two accused was filed on July 12, 2018, revealing that they were deeply radicalised by the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a proscribed terrorist organisation, and wanted to eliminate all those whom they believed to be “unbelievers (kafirs)”.
“The two men had conspired to further the ideology of ISIS by carrying out terrorist acts in India and had planned to target non-Muslims. In furtherance of their criminal conspiracy, they murdered Shukla, with the intention of striking terror among the masses,” the official said.
A case was initially registered on October 24, 2016 at Chakeri police station in Kanpur Nagar and the NIA took over the case on November 18, 2017.
Muzaffar and Khan were earlier too sentenced to death and a fine of Rs 1,000 imposed in an ISIS case in Kanpur. The case was initially registered on March 8, 2017 at PS ATS, Lucknow and re-registered by NIA on March 14, 2017.
Investigations in the case had established that the accused were members of ISIS and had sworn ‘bayat’ (allegiance) to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Muzaffar was the group’s Amir (leader) and was influenced by the propaganda of Dr Zakir Naik.
“He was found to be a accessing IS-related websites frequently, from where he was downloading content and videos and sharing the same with the others in his group,” the official said.
The accused persons were involved in propagation of ISIS ideology and promotion of its activities in India. NIA probe revealed that the accused had prepared and tested some IEDs and had unsuccessfully tried to plant them at various locations in UP.
“A notebook seized from their Haji Colony (Lucknow) hideout was found to contain handwritten notes about potential targets and details about bomb-making. Investigations had also led to the discovery of several photographs of the accused making IEDs and even with weapons, ammunition and ISIS Flag. The group had reportedly collected illegal weapons and explosives from various places,” the official added.