The NIA court in Kochi sentenced 18 activists of SIMI, a banned outfit, to seven years in jail after they were found guilty in a case pertaining to organising an arms training camp in Kottayam district in 2007. Recently, a special judge had acquitted 17 others for want of evidence in the case, known as Vagamon SIMI camp. Apart from the jail term, a fine of Rs 25,000 has been imposed on the accused. They faced charges under UAPA, Explosive Substances Act and section 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC. The court said that the period of judicial custody served by the accused would be deducted from the sentence. Hence, those who have served seven years in judicial custody need not go to jail, provided they are not convicted in other cases. The NIA had arraigned 38 persons as accused in the case, but only 36 faced trial as one of the accused Mehaboob Sheikh, of UP, was shot dead in Bihar in a bid to escape from jail in 2016. Another accused Wasiq Billa is suspected to have moved to Pakistan.
Among those convicted, six were from Karnataka, three from Madhya Pradesh, two from Jharkhand and one each from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. SIMI's former General Secretary Safdar Nagori, allegedly involved in several other terror cases, was also among the convicted.