Mumbai: Nine years after seven RDX bombs kept in Mumbai suburban trains exploded killing 200 people, a Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Friday.
In a trial that lasted for eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service (IPS) and five Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers as well as 18 doctors.
The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness. Special MCOCA judge Yatin D Shinde had concluded the trial on 19 August last year. 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 11 July, 2006, killing 200 people and injuring 829. The blast occurred between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.
The motive behind the blasts is due to the religious extremism by the Islamic Terrorist operatives named as 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. 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 23 April, 2010. The investigating agency, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had questioned as many as 200 witnesses against 13 accused.
The 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation’s financial capital.
The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains plying the Western line of the Suburban Railway network. 209 people were killed and over 700 were injured.
Pressure cooker bombs were placed on trains on the western line of the suburban (“local”) train network, which forms the backbone of the city’s transport network.
Pressure cookers were used in this bombing and other recent explosions to increase the afterburn in a thermobaric reaction, more powerful than conventional high explosives.
The first blast reportedly took place at 18:24 IST (12:54 UTC), and the explosions continued for approximately eleven minutes, until 18:35, during the after-work rush hour all across Mumbai.
All the bombs had been placed in the first-class “general” compartments (some compartments are reserved for women, called “ladies” compartments) of several trains running from Churchgate, the city-centre end of the western railway line, to the western suburbs of the city.
They exploded at or in the near vicinity of the suburban railway stations of Matunga Road, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Jogeshwari, Bhayandar and Borivali.
The then Home Minister Shivraj Patil told that authorities had “some” information an attack was coming, “but place and time was not known”, and the blasts were carried out very immediately after the announcement.
Also, the bomb attacks in Mumbai came hours after a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar, the largest city in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The then Home Secretary V K Duggal however said there was no link between the Srinagar and Mumbai bomb blasts.