The prosecution has sought death penalty for eight of the 12 persons convicted in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts case and life imprisonment for the other four. The special MCOCA court will announce the quantum of sentence on September 30.
“Considering their role they deserve nothing less than the death penalty,” Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thackeray told Judge Y D Shinde Wednesday, demanding the maximum punishment for Kamal Ahmed Mohammad Vakil Ansari, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Ansari, Mohammad Faisal Ataur Rahman Shaikh, Ehtesham Kutubuddin Siddiqui, Shaikh Mohammad Ali Alam Shaikh, Mohammad Sajid Mugrub Ansari, Naveed Hussain Khan and Asif Khan.
“Those who are involved (in acts of terror) are merchants of death. Some thinkers ask why the honest taxpayer should be burdened with the liability of maintaining them for 40 years, 60 years or for life,” Thackeray argued.
The prosecution sought life imprisonment for Mohammad Majid Mohammad Shafi, Muzammil Ataur Rehman Shaikh, Sohail Mehmood Shaikh and Zameer Ahmed Latiur Rehman Shaikh. Arguing that the court consider their case on a “slightly different footing” than the other eight, Thackeray said, “if the court feels they deserve some leniency, they are guilty of multiple offences of life imprisonment, they may be sentenced till the end of their life and in no event less than 60 years.”
Defence counsel Dr Yug Mohit Chaudhry said the demand for death penalty was “irrational”. “If you consider the roles, out of the 12, five are planters. If they were to be given death, there would be some rational criteria. He (Thackeray) has asked for eight. There is no rationale,” argued Chaudhry.
Both sides concluded arguments Wednesday. In the course of the arguments, Thackeray read out an excerpt of the latest Law Commission report, which has recommended that death penalty be abolished for all crimes except those that are terror-related.
He also drew parallels with Yakub Memon, whose death penalty was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Thackeray added that the defence’s contention that the accused had co-operated during the investigation must be “outrightly rejected.”
Referring to five occasions between July 2007 and March 2008 when the accused were charged with misconduct, Thackeray said reports filed by prison authorities regarding the incidents suggested that the convicts had no chance of reform.
“The dastardly act was… an outcome of long planning. There was a long time gap between their training in Pakistan and the blasts. There was ample opportunity to retreat and reform,” he said.
In his brief rebuttal, Chaudhry said the reports from the prison did not constitute evidence under the Evidence Act.
“The prison department is sending these reports behind their (accused) backs without giving them a copy. What is the motivation for these reports?” he said.
The 8 prosecution wants hanged
Kamal Ahmed Mohammed Vakil Ansari: Convicted for transporting wanted Pakistani terrorists from the Nepal border to Mumbai. Was also one of the planters
Dr Tanveer Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Ansari: Travelled to Pakistan for training and was present at Mohammad Ali’s Govandi house while the bombs were being made
Mohammed Faisal Ataur Rahman Shaikh: Travelled twice to Pakistan and planted the bomb that exploded at Jogeshwari railway station
Ehtesham Kutubuddin Siddiqui: Believed to be the joint secretary of SIMI’s Maharashtra unit, had planted the bomb that went off at Mira Road railway station
Shaikh Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh: Owned the Govandi house where the bombs were made. Also alleged to have trained in Pakistan
Mohammed Sajid Margub Ansari: Made the electric circuits used in the bombs and harbouring the wanted Pakistani terrorists
Naveed Hussain Khan Rasheed Hussain Khan: Planted the bomb that exploded at Khar railway station, surveyed the suburban train network
Asif Khan: Planted bombs that exploded at Borivali railway station and acquired rexine bags, utensils, ammonium nitrate and detonators
Mohammed Majid Mohammed Shafi: The Kolkata resident transported wanted Pakistani terrorists to Mumbai from the Bangladesh border and back to Bangladesh after the blasts
Muzammil Ataur Rahman Shaikh: The software engineer was trained in Pakistan, conspired in a meeting held at the home of Faisal and did a recce of the local train network
Sohail Mehmood Shaikh: Trained in Pakistan, did a recce of the local train network before the blasts and is said to be a member of SIMI
Zameer Ahmed Latiur Rehman Shaikh: Worli resident, trained in Pakistan and was present at Faisal’s house where the conspiracy was hatched. Police claim Zameer was a key accused as he also did the recce of the train network