Even as two suspects in the 2003 Mumbai blasts case appear for a fresh trial for their alleged role in the conspiracy,they are contemplating moving the apex court. Hasan Batterywala and Rizwan Laddoowala are facing the prospect of being tried as accused afresh nearly seven years after they were held innocent by a POTA review commitee,while three others convicted in the case have been given death penalty,which was confirmed on February 10 by the High Court.
The HC also directed that Batterywala and Laddoowala stand trial in the case and they appeared on Friday before a trial court,which posted their case for hearing on March 25,after granting them bail.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Batterywala said,We are trying every avenue possible to seek justice. We will appear before the trial court as and when required and are planning to move the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court verdict. We will wait and see what God has in store for us.
Their lawyer,Sharif Shaikh,says,The POTA review committee had given specific reasons for the order it had passed and it had a basis for discharging both. I will produce all available evidence about their innocence and am hoping for the best.
In May 2005,a Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) review committee had held that Batterywala and Laddoowala were not found connected with the attack and that there was no basis for prosecuting them under POTA.
However,in its order on February 10,a division bench of the Bombay High Court directed that they stand trial under sections of the Indian Penal Code. However,partly ruling in their favour,the High Court had upheld the order in terms of withdrawal of prosecution against them under POTA.
The court had confirmed death sentence passed by the POTA court against Ashrat Ansari,Hanif Sayed and his wife Fehmida Sahed,suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba members for their role in the August 2003 blasts at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar.
They had also been charged with placing a bomb in a bus in Ghatkopar in July 2003 and placing another bomb,which did not go off,at Seepz bus depot in December 2002.