Naveed Khan (30) began his career with an MNC when he was pursuing his graduation. He did not have a criminal record. Neither did he have contacts with illegal organisations. Naveed was among the five accused who were sentenced to death by a special MCOCA court on Wednesday in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings case.
However, he appeared to be taking the verdict with amazing equanimity.
“I was expecting such a verdict from day one,” he told reporters. “I have faith in God and the judiciary. Can a fake case stand in the higher courts?” he said with a smile.
His co-accused, however, did not share his easy disposition. Kamal Ansari, who hails from Bihar, seemed shaken by the verdict. His poor family did not have the means to travel to be by his side. “What has happened is wrong. I am innocent,” he said.
All the accused alleged that they were made “scapegoats” to save the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad an embarrassment. “We have nothing against the system, but the ATS used every means to portray us as guilty,” said Asif Bashir Khan. “Had we been released, the ATS would have been in the dock. This is mockery of justice. Perhaps this is something every accused says, but we insist we are innocent.”
The convicts have issued a joint letter accusing the ATS of manufacturing evidence. “They [ATS] have cheated the people of this country and blast victims by convicting the innocent. Everyone in the government department knows we are not involved in the blasts. They were carried out by the Indian Mujahideen,” the letter said.
The order came as a shock to the family members of the convicts. “We were hoping for their acquittal. But we have faith in God. The higher courts will give us justice,” said the wife of Sajid Ansari, who was awarded a life term.
Ataur Rahman appeared dejected and broken. One of his sons Faisal Shaikh was sentenced to death and another Muzzammil Shaikh to life imprisonment. “This is not a verdict. It is a political decision. It is the working of a caste mentality. Confessions were obtained through torture,” he told The Hindu .
Death row convict Ehtesham Siddiqui’s father Qutbuddin Siddiqui said he was shattered. “I never thought he will get death. I was expecting an acquittal.”
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi extended his support to the families of the convicts. “We will go door to door and tell the victims and their families how the ATS fooled them,” said Sajid Ansari’s brother Khalid Ansari.
|Convicts and their role||Quantum of punishment|
|Kamal Ansari||Received arms training in Pakistan; Helped Pakistani terrorists Aslam and Hafizullah cross into India through Indo-Nepal border||Death|
|Tanveer Ansari||Received arms training in Pakistan; Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts; Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
|Faisal Shaikh||Worked for Azam Cheema, LeT commander in chief, training in Pakistan; Received arms training in Pakistan||Death|
|Ehtesham Siddiqui||Harboured Pakistani terrorists Ammu Jan, Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali,Ehsahnullah, Abu Hasan in a Mumbra house rented by Abdul Wahid Din||Death|
|Mohammad Ali Shaikh||Received arms training in Pakistan-Bombs were assembled at his residence; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
|Sajid Ansari||Procured timer electric circuitry and other devices for 7/11; Housed and harboured Pakistani terrorists Aslam and Haifzulla; Helped in assembling bombs at Mohammed Ali's house-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
|Naveed Khan||Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings; Planted the bomb which exploded at Bandra station||Death|
|Asif Bashir Khan||Housed and harboured Pakistani terrorists at his Mira Road residence; Procured rexine bags, utensils, ammonium nitrate, detonators; Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house; Planted the bomb which exploded in Borivali station||Death|
|Majid Mohammad Shafi||Helped Pakistani terrorists Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali, Ammu Jan,Ehsanullah, Abu Hasan cross into India through Indo-Bangladesh border; Ehsanullah brought RDX with him, which were later used in making bombs||Life imprisonment|
|Muzzammil Shaikh||This computer engineer received arms training in Pakistan; Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts; Helped in procuring hawala money to execute the 7/11 conspiracy through absconding accused Rizwan Daware and his brother Rahil; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
|Suhail Shaikh||Recieved arms and ammunition training in Pakistan; Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
|Zameer Shaikh||-Received arms training in Pakistan; Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts; Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings||Life imprisonment|
Timeline of case:
>Seven RDX bombs rip the first class compartments of Mumbai local trains between Churchgate and Bhayander station in a span of 11 minutes. 189 dead, around 800 injured
Police arrest three persons in connection with the blasts.
ATS files charge sheet, 13 arrested accused and 15 absconding accused charged under MCOCA
7/11 accused move Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of MCOCA. In February 2008, Supreme Court ordered a stay on the trial.
Mumbai Crime Branch arrests five IM operatives. Crime branch probe shows IM carried out the bombings, contradicting ATS that Pakistani nationals also planted bombs.
Young lawyer Shahid Azmi, who defended some of the accused in 7/11 case, shot dead in his central Mumbai office.
Stay on trial vacated, examination of witnesses resume
Media barred from entering court conducting trial
Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of IM, >arrested at Indo-Nepal border. Yasin claims the 2006 bombings were done by IM in retaliation to the 2002 riots, raising questions about arrest of 13 accused by ATS
7/11 trial concludes and court reserves judgment
MCOCA court convicts 12 of the 13 arrested accused in the case.
MCOCA court sentences five convicts to death. Seven get life imprisonment.