2 convicts to be sentenced on Monday, Sept 14
Mumbai: Nine years after seven RDX bombs kept in Mumbai suburban trains exploded killing 200 people, a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court on Friday convicted 12 persons belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in the serial blasts case.
Delivering the verdict, the Special MCOCA Judge Yatin D Shinde pronounced 12 accused as guilty while acquitting one accused Abdul Wahid Shaikh, 34, in the case.
The 12 accused who were convicted on Friday are: Kamal Ahamed Ansari, 37, Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, 37, Mohd Faisal Shaikh, 36, Ehtesham Siddiqui, 30, Mohammad Majid Shafi, 32, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, 41, Mohd Sajid Ansari, 34, Muzzammil Shaikh Soheil Mehmood Shaikh, Zamir Ahmad Shaikh, 36, Naveed Hussain Khan, 30 and Asif Khan, 38.
However, Azam Chima, along with 14 others, are still absconding in the case.
Arguments for the quantum of sentence are likely to begin on Monday. In the trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service and five Indian Administrative Service officers as well as 18 doctors. The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness.
The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages.
Seven RDX bombs had exploded in the first class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains on July 11, 2006, killing 200 people and injuring 829.
The blast occurred within a span of 10 minutes between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road-Bhayander, Matunga-Mahim Junction and Borivali.
The MCOCA judge had concluded the trial on August 19 last year. The examination of witnesses resumed after two years since the Supreme Court had stayed the trial in 2008.
Before the stay, the prosecution had already examined a police officer. The Supreme Court vacated the stay on April 23, 2010.
REWIND: 11 minutes, 7 bombs and a 9-year trial
A Special MCOCA court has convicted 12 of the 13 accused in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai suburban train bombings in which 188 people were killed. Here’s a lowdown on what the case is all about:
Starting 6.24 pm on July 11, 2006, seven blasts went off within 11 minutes ripping through the first class compartments of the trains at Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road stations.
A total of 189 persons were killed and over 819 were injured.
The attack was carried out by the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.
Pressure cookers with a 2.5 kg deadly concoction of RDX, ammonium citrate and other chemicals were placed in the first class compartments of suburban trains of the Western Railway during the evening peak hours.
The Main Accused
Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Abdul Wahid Shaikh (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43), Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36), Naveed Hussain Khan (30), Asif Khan (38) are the accused who were arrested by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
Azam Chima, along with 14 others, is absconding in the case.
As per the prosecution’s case, the accused persons were SIMI activists. They held several conspiratorial meetings at Mohd Faisal Shaikh’s house in Bandra and at another accused Mohd Sajid Ansari’s house in Mira Road, where they decided to target local trains as they were crowded and security was not as tight as for the other sites they had surveyed.
On the day of the attacks, they travelled in different taxis to Churchgate with seven bags of explosives, kept at Faisal’s house, and planted them on various trains. The Mumbai Crime Branch arrested five alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives, including a Sadiq Sheikh, in connection with the bombings, bringing forth a possible IM hand in the blasts and putting a question mark on the ATS probe. The ATS later discarded IM’s role and Sadiq, who confessed, was declared hostile.
In a trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service and five Indian Administrative Service officers as well as 18 doctors.
The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness. The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages.
The prosecuting agency, state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), had examined 200 witnesses in the case against 13 accused, while the defence lawyers examined a total of 40 witnesses.
Special MCOCA judge Yatin D Shinde had concluded the trial on August 19 last year.
Asked about the reason behind the delay in delivering verdict, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare, who appeared for the ATS in this case, said the court must be ensuring that all the evidence and arguments of both the prosecution and defence is covered in the judgment and there are no loose ends.
“During the trial, we (prosecution and defence lawyers) submit a lot of evidence and judgments in support of our arguments. All that has to be perused and considered by the judge before passing judgment. It is a huge task,” Thakare said.