Updated: July 14, 2021 7:24:25 am
A SPECIAL court framed charges against Yasin Bhatkal, a top Indian Mujahideen operative, for his alleged involvement in the 2011 Mumbai triple blasts. The court also framed charges against Ajaz Saeed Shaikh.
Both Bhatkal and Shaikh are lodged in Tihar central prison in New Delhi and are also convicts on death row in other blast cases.
The court on Monday framed charges against them for offences including murder, criminal conspiracy, relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Both the men have pleaded not guilty.
Bhatkal and Shaikh had been insistent on being produced before the Mumbai court for the procedure of framing of charges. The court had last month rejected Shaikh’s plea stating that a general order was passed by the state government under section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code, through which it is empowered to not bring him to court since he is a convict facing a death sentence.
On Monday, while Bhatkal insisted on being produced, the court said he had been given “utmost opportunities”. “I have also reprimanded him that for giving utmost opportunities, he has been connected repeatedly through video-conferencing to give him every chance for a fair trial. Otherwise, on account of his earlier successive refusals to hear charges, I would have proceeded further. I also instructed him that due to such behaviour of the accused persons, the trial is not proceeding at its required pace,” the court said, following which Bhatkal agreed for charges to be framed over video-conferencing from Tihar jail.
Ten years since the blast took place at three sites — Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and near Dadar railway station — leaving 27 people dead and over 127 injured, the trial in the case is yet to begin.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) claims that Bhatkal had planned the conspiracy and rented a room in Byculla where the bombs were assembled.
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