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7/11: 8 yrs on, prosecution goes back to pressure cooker theory

Chargesheet names 30 accused, including the 13 who have already been arrested and booked under MCOCA. Fifteen are absconding and two are dead.

Written by SUKANYA SHANTHA | Mumbai |
May 13, 2014 3:43:46 am

Eight years after the Maharashtra ATS claimed in a press conference that pressure cookers were used in the 7/11 Mumbai serial blasts, but could not substantiate this in the chargesheet later, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare has told the MCOCA court that “pressure cookers were indeed used to carry out explosions on seven trains on July 11, 2006.”

He was making his final arguments before the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on April 30.

The pressure cooker theory was first floated by the Maharashtra ATS on September 30, 2006, soon after 13 Muslim men were arrested for their alleged role in the case. The National Security Advisor and Central Forensic Science Laboratory, together with Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy, had then claimed pressure cookers were used to conceal the RDX-laden IED. In the chargesheet though, it kept this aspect vague, and said household utensils were used.

The devices went off in seven first-class compartments of suburban trains on the evening of July 11, killing 188 persons and injuring 827.

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According to the prosecution, now relying heavily on the testimony of one Assistant Police Inspector Sandesh Revle, a time device was fitted to the explosives placed inside pressure cookers and the bombs were activated by “detonating waves” created inside the cooker. Revle was attached with the Bomb Detection and Disposal Branch at the time of the blast and was assigned the job to analyse the nature of the explosives used. He had also defused one of the detonators allegedly seized from one of the accused, Asif Bashir Khan.

The pressure cookers, the ATS had claimed then, were procured from ‘Decent Houseware’ and ‘Selection’ house appliances stores at Santacruz. The prosecution has, interestingly, gone back to the pressure cooker theory towards the fag end of the trial, without bringing any fresh evidence to substantiate its version. When the defence demanded last year the shop owners be examined before the court, the prosecution had turned down the proposition.

“The prosecution claimed they are bound to examine every witnesses in the case and claimed that the agency has not specified that the ‘household utensils’ used were pressure cookers. And now they are going back to the same old theory,” said defence lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan. The defence has sought explanation as to why some of the “crucial” witnesses were never examined in the court. Sources in the ATS claim that the witnesses would not have added or damaged their claims and hence were not crucial.

The chargesheet names 30 accused, including the 13 who have already been arrested and booked under MCOCA. Fifteen are absconding and two are dead.

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