Nine years after the July 11, 2006 serial blasts on Mumbai local trains that left 189 dead and hundreds injured, five persons were sentenced to death while seven others were given life terms by a special court here on Wednesday.
On September 11, the court had convicted 12 of the 13 accused. The prosecution had demanded death penalty for eight of the 12.
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Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde Wednesday awarded capital punishment to Kamal Ansari (41) from Madhubani, Bihar; Mohammad Faisal Ataur Rahman Shaikh (41) from Mumbai; Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui (34) from Thane; Naveed Hussain Khan (35) from Secunderabad and Asif Khan (44) from Jalgaon in Maharashtra. All of them were found guilty of planting the bombs.
“They shall be hanged by their necks till they are dead,” the court ruled. The collective fine slapped on them was Rs 71.45 lakh.
The court awarded death sentence on four stringent counts of spreading terror, organised crime, criminal conspiracy and murder. The men were found guilty of charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), MCOCA, IPC, Explosives Substances Act, 1908 and Railways Act, 1989.
The seven who have been given life sentences are: Tanveer Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Ansari (41), Mohammed Majid Mohammed Shafi (37), Shaikh Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh (46), Mohammed Sajid
Margub Ansari (38), Muzammil Ataur Rahman Shaikh (31), Suhail Mehmood Shaikh (46) and Zameer Ahmed Latiur Rehman Shaikh (41).
They have also been found guilty of charges under UAPA, MCOCA and IPC. The prosecution claimed they had undergone training in Pakistan and also transported Pakistani terrorists.
A detailed judgment, running into thousands of pages, with the court’s observations is awaited.
Expressing “relief” at the court’s decision, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare said his “responsibility was over”. “This shows that the court has independently applied its mind. It makes me more happy,” he said.
Defence counsel Yug Mohit Chaudhry said the defence was not given the call data records which, according to the prosecution, showed that all the convicts were in touch. “While the ATS, under K P Raghuvanshi, said they were SIMI operatives, Rakesh Maria, who was the head of the crime branch at that time, said they were Indian Mujahideen… Till date, the chargesheet is pending in court,” he said.
“This is not a judgement but a political decision. What are the facts? The ATS has scripted its own story,” said Atur Rahman, father of Faisal and Muzammil, who have been awarded death and life sentences respectively.
“This is government terrorist squad, not the anti-terrorist squad. The investigations have glaring loopholes, the evidence needs a relook. We will appeal in the high court,” said Khalid Ansari, brother of Sajid Ansari.
— With inputs from Rohit Alok