A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court on Tuesday convicted 10 persons and acquitted three others in the case of triple blasts that occurred in the city between December 2002 and March 2003 claiming 12 lives.
Saquib Nachan, former general secretary of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who planted the bombs, and Muzammil Ansari have been convicted, along with eight others. SIMI suspects Nadeem Paloba, Haroon Rashid, Adnan Mulla were acquitted.
On December 6, 2002, a bomb exploded in the Mumbai Central railway station, injuring 27 persons. On January 27, 2003, one woman died when a bomb exploded in Vile Parle. On March 13 that year, a bomb exploded in a Karjat-bound train, leaving 11 dead and 82 injured.
Lashkar member was the mastermind
All 13 accused in the Mumbai triple blasts were charged with murder, attempt to murder, causing grievous injuries, waging a war against the nation and criminal conspiracy and arms possession. They were booked under the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Railways Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the Arms Act, the Explosive Substances Act and the POTA.
The first arrest in the case, made by the Crime Branch on April 10, 2003, was of Saquib Nashan. A charge sheet, running into 5,000 pages, was filed on April 19, 2003. The charges under the POTA were applied on July 7, 2014.
The investigation revealed that Saquib and Lashkar-e-Taiba member Faisal Khan had masterminded the blast, along with 23 others. Of the total of 25 accused, five, including Khan, died and five others are still at large. Two turned hostile.
The case, presented by Special Public Prosecutor Rohini Salian, was based on forensic reports, circumstantial evidence and the statements of eyewitnesses and the injured. The prosecution said the accused held several meetings in Mumbai and Pune and at Padgha in Thane in 2001 to plan the blasts.
Ms. Salian said Muzammil Ansari had carried a bag containing the bomb. He was identified because he had a squeaky voice.
At Vile Parle, where a bomb exploded on a bicycle, another bomb was planted in the vicinity; but it did not explode and had to be defused. Ms. Salian said the prosecution relied upon only circumstantial evidence.