Mumbai

12 convicted, 1 acquitted in Mumbai train blasts case

A coach devastated by a bomb blast at Khar station in Mumbai on July 12, 2006. Starting 6.24 p.m. that day, seven blasts ripped through the first class compartments of local trains. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

A coach devastated by a bomb blast at Khar station in Mumbai on July 12, 2006. Starting 6.24 p.m. that day, seven blasts ripped through the first class compartments of local trains. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

Closing a long chapter in the history of terror attacks in Mumbai, a Special MCOCA Court on Friday convicted 12 persons of hatching a criminal conspiracy and subsequently executing a series of bombings on Mumbai’s local trains on July 11 2006, which claimed 189 lives and injured over 800 people.

Of the total 13 accused arrested and charge sheeted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, one person Abdul Wahid Din Mohammad Shaikh was acquitted of all the charges after nine years in jail.

Also see: >All you need to know about the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts | >Mumbai train blasts: In pictures

The 12 convicts, including key conspirators Faisal Shaikh and Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, were chiefly found guilty of being members of terrorist organisation under section 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and of being part of an organised crime syndicate under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, among other sections.

They were also found guilty of criminal conspiracy (section 120B) to commit offences related to waging war against the Government of India (sections 121A, 122) under the Indian Penal Code.

Five of the convicts, namely Kamal Ansari, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Mumbai chief Faisal, SIMI activist Ehtesham Siddiqui, Naveed and Junaid were planters of bombs at Jogeshwari, Mira Road, Bandra and Borivali. They were found guilty of murder, attempt to murder, causing hurt and criminal conspiracy.

Some of accused were separately convicted and acquitted under few other individual sections of UAPA, MCOCA, IPC, Explosive Substances Act, Explosives Act, Railways Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Special Judge YD Shinde, who presided over the 7/11 trial, banned the media from entering the courtroom to report on the judgement. Lawyers present in the court said, the 12 convicts were too stunned to react after hearing the verdict.

‘Court accepted conspiracy’

Convictions under 120B indicate that the court accepted the accused acted in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare said.

“The two main evidences submitted by the prosecution is the meeting in Bandra at the house of Faisal and one at Mohammad Ali’s place in Govandi, where bombs were assembled. The court seems to have accepted that,” Mr. Thakare said.

On Abdul’s acquittal, he said the allegation against him was of harbouring Pakistani terrorists, which was supported by one witness who turned hostile. “Apart from that there was no evidence against him.”

The serious offences against the convicts attract the maximum punishment of death. Arguments on the quantum of sentence will begin on Monday. Mr. Thakare said, “I will study the Law Commission reports and the judgement in Yakub Memon case in my arguments for sentencing. The Commission says that death penalty should be gradually done away with, but in terror cases, it is there. I am not going to go vindictively just because there are convictions. Everyone’s desire is that such offences call for no mercy. Law must respond to the society’s cry for justice.”

‘ATS vindicated’

The verdict came as a big boost for the ATS, whose probe was marked by several twists and flip-flops. “We are happy that the ATS investigation is upheld by the court. Justice has been done to the victims at least partly,” former ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi told media persons outside the court.

On the questions raised after the arrest of five alleged Indian Mujahideen cadres by the Mumbai Crime Branch, Mr. Raghuvanshi said “At no point did we have any doubt in our mind about the arrests we made and the evidence we collected. I knew we will be vindicated and we have been vindicated. There was no clue left in this blast as there was no unexploded blast. ATS was a small unit then and the case was big.”

On the contentious issue of the call data records, which showed different locations of some of the accused, he said, “We never made claims on the basis of the CDRs. Accused persons never carry mobile phones with them while committing a crime.”

The ATS will examine its failure regarding the acquittal of Abdul and will decide if it wants to go in appeal. It was “unfortunate” that 15 accused persons were still absconding, Mr. Raghuvanshi said.

Retired Inspector Vasant Tajne, who was part of the investigating team, said the accused tried their best to delay the trial by filing applications and challenging the applicability of MCOCA. “Moreover, the defence examined 51 witnesses, which is a huge number.”

‘Law is blind’

The convictions dealt a blow to the relatives of the convicted accused and many refused to speak. “Yeh kanoon andha hain [Law is blind],” remarked a relative of one of the accused.

Convicted accused Sajid Ansari’s brother who did not wish to be named said, “What can you expect from lower courts? The police case against Sajid is that he collected mobile phones from the accused, went to Govandi and Bandra and was involved in bomb making, but his CDRs prove that he was not at these locations. This verdict now means more years at the High Court and Supreme Court. Anyway this is a State’s case. Everyone has scant regard for the police now.”

Accused and their role

Source: ATS charge sheet

Faisal Shaikh, Mumbai chief, Lashkar-e-Taiba,

-Worked for Azam Cheema, LeT commander in chief, training in Pakistan

-Received arms training in Pakistan.

-On Cheema's orders, Shaikh sent his brother Muzammil, Dr Tanvir

Ansari, Sohail Shaikh, Zameer Shaikh to Pakistan via Tehran

-Helped in getting hawala money for the execution of the 7/11 blasts

through absconding accused Rizwan Daware and his brother, Rahil.

-Key conspirator along with Asif Khan Bashir Khan

-Housed and harboured Pakistani terrorists Salim, Sohail Shaikh, Abdul

Razak, Abu Umed at his residence.

-7/11 conspiracy meetings were held at his Bandra residence

-Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house

-Planted the bomb which exploded at Jogeshwari station

Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid, key conspirator

-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

Mohammed ALI, activist, SIMI

-Received arms training in Pakistan

-Bombs were assembled at his residence

-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings

Majid Mohammed Shafi, Resident, Kolkata

- 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

Sajid Margub Ansari, activist, SIMI

-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

Kamal Ansari, resident, Madhubani

-Recieved arms training in Pakistan

-Helped Pakistani terrorists Aslam and Hafizullah cross into India

through Indo-Nepal border

Ehteshaam Siddiqui, Mumbai secretary, SIMI

-Harboured Pakistani terrorists Ammu Jan, Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali,

Ehsahnullah, Abu Hasan in a Mumbra house rented by Abdul Wahid Din

Shaikh

-Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts

-Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house

-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings

-Planted the bomb which exploded at Mira Road station

Zameer Shaikh, activist, SIMI

-Received arms training in Pakistan

-Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts

-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings

Muzammil Shaikh, Faisal's brother

-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

Sohail Shaikh, activist, SIMI

-Recieved arms and ammunition training in Pakistan

-Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts

-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings

Dr Tanvir Ansari, activist, SIMI

-Recieved 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

Naveed Hussain, Call centre employee from Hyderabad, Faisal's friend

-Helped in assembling bombs in Mohammed Ali's house

-Attended 7/11 conspiracy meetings

-Planted the bomb which exploded at Bandra station.

Abdul Wahid Din Shaikh, activist, SIMI

-Pakistani terrorists Ammu Jan, Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali,

Ehsahnullah and Abu Hasan lived in a Mumbra house rented by him

11

July, 2006

>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

21

July, 2006

Police arrest three persons in connection with the blasts.

30

November, 2006

ATS files charge sheet, 13 arrested accused and 15 absconding accused charged under MCOCA

21

June, 2007

7/11 accused move Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of MCOCA. In February 2008, Supreme Court ordered a stay on the trial.

23

September, 2008

Mumbai Crime Branch arrests five IM operatives. Crime branch probe shows IM carried out the bombings, contradicting ATS that Pakistani nationals also planted bombs.

13

February, 2010

Young lawyer Shahid Azmi, who defended some of the accused in 7/11 case, shot dead in his central Mumbai office.

23

April, 2010

Stay on trial vacated, examination of witnesses resume

23

June, 2010

Media barred from entering court conducting trial

30

August, 2013

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

20

August, 2014

7/11 trial concludes and court reserves judgment


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 8:37:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/711-Mumbai-train-blasts-case-12-convicted-1-acquitted/article60520570.ece