Kochi: A special NIA court here on Thursday convicted 13 people, owing allegiance to a radical Islamic outfit, in the sensational hand chopping case of a college professor in Kerala in 2010 while acquitting 18 other accused.
Ten of the 13 have been have been found guilty under various sections of the central law dealing with terror — the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The court, which posted the matter to May 5, is likely to pronounce the quantum of punishment on the same day after hearing.
Eighteen people have been acquitted by the Special NIA court Judge P Sasidharan citing lack of evidence against them in the case.
The 13 persons owing allegiance Popular Front of India (PFI) were convicted in the case in which the right hand of T J Joseph, professor of Newman College in Thodupuzha in Idukki district, was chopped while he was returning home after attending a Sunday mass at a church in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district on July 4, 2010.
Besides UAPA, the court has also found the 10 accused guilty under various sections of Explosive Substances Act and IPC that deals with criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder.
The court, however, convicted three accused -- Abdul Lateef, Anwar Sadique and Riyas -- under Section 212 of IPC dealing with harbouring offenders.
The court in its judgment said the prosecution has proved beyond all reasonable doubts that eight of the accused along with some others entered into a criminal conspiracy to eliminate the professor by inflicting grievous injuries.
They did it out of enmity towards Joseph accusing him of hurting religious sentiments of a community through a question paper he set for his students.
The court, which began the trial of the case in July 2013, had examined over 300 prosecution witnesses, four defence witnesses, over 950 prosecution documents, nearly 30 defence documents, and over 200 material objects.
Thirty-seven persons were charge-sheeted by the NIA in the case. However, 31 only underwent trial as the remaining six, including first accused Savad were absconding.
An absconding accused, Najeeb was arrested on April 15 in Coimbatore. NIA had registered the case on April 4, 2011.
According to the police which initially probed the case, the accused wanted to kill Joseph for derogatory religious remarks in a question paper he set for B.Com semester examination in the Newman College.
Accused Jamal, Shobin and Shamsudin were found guilty and convicted of offences under various sections of IPC, Explosive Substances Act and UAPA.
Shanawaz and another accused Pareed have also been found guilty and convicted under Sections 15, 16, 18 and 20 of the UAPA along with various sections of IPC and Explosive Substances Act.
Younus, Ali, Jafar and Shajeer have been found guilty and convicted of offences under Sections 18 and 20 of the UAPA along with various sections of other Acts.
Another accused Kasim has been found guilty under Section 20 of the UAPA and other sections of IPC and Explosive Substances Act.
The Kerala police, which probed the case initially, had named 54 people owing allegiance to PFI, a fundamentalist Muslim outfit in Kerala, in its original charge sheet.
NIA, which took over the case later, however, named 37 accused in its charge-sheet submitted before the Special Court.
The trial was held in camera considering the sensitive nature of the case.
Alleging that the professor had hurt their religious sentiments, the accused were held guilty of brutally attacking him and chopping off his right hand.
The hand was later sutured back and he slowly recovered from the attack.
Joseph, head of the Malayalam department in the college, was suspended from service following the controversy over framing of the question paper in 2010.
His family went through tough times after he became jobless. His wife Salomi, who stood by Joseph during his trying times, ended her life last year as the family was facing severe financial problems.
Within days of her death, the college took him back before his retirement on March 31, last year.