Mumbai | Nine years after a series of bomb blasts in suburban trains rattled the metropolis killing 188 people, a special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court today sentenced five of the 12 convicted in the case to death while the remaining were awarded life imprisonment.
Delivering the verdict, Special Judge Yatin D Shinde pronounced capital punishment for Kamal Ahamed Ansari 37, Mohd Faisal Shaikh 36, Ehtesham Siddiqui 30, Naveed Hussain Khan 30 and Asif Khan 38, all of them bomb planters. The remaining seven, who were spared the noose, are Tanvir Ahmed Ansari 37, Mohammad Majid Shafi 32, Shaikh Alam Shaikh 41, Mohd Sajid Ansari 34, Muzzammil Shaikh 27, Soheil Mehmood Shaikh 43 and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh 36. The blasts had ripped the suburban trains 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 court had last week concluded hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence when prosecution demanded death penalty for 8 of the 12 accused while it sought life imprisonment for the remaining four. On September 23, the Special MCOCA court had reserved its order on sentencing in the case for today. Earlier on on September 11, it had convicted 12 of the 13 accused, all allegedly having links with banned SIMI, while acquitting one.
The accused were found guilty of charges under IPC, Explosives Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Indian Railway Act and those under MCOCA. The court also found all the 12 accused guilty under Section 3 (1) (i) of MCOCA, which attracts capital punishment. During the investigations, 13 accused, all of them Indians, were arrested and brought to trial. The charge sheet filed by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in November 2006 had named 30 accused, out of which 17 of them are absconding.
The absconding 13 Pakistan nationals which includes Azam Chima, member of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba. After 12 accused were found guilty, Judge Shinde had allowed the defence lawyers to examine witnesses to bring out the mitigating circumstances in the case. Defence lawyers subsequently examined nine witnesses to show the court that the accused have undergone reformation and and thus may not be given capital punishment.
The list of witnesses included the relatives of accused, doctors, teachers and others while one of the convicts examined another accused in Mumbai 2012 serial blasts. After the examination of witnesses, the defence advocates had pleaded leniency saying that the 12 convicts were merely the pawns of mastermind Cheema.