MUMBAI: Four of the convicts in the Mumbai serial train blasts case today examined witnesses in the trial court to show that they deserve only the minimum punishment.
The court, which convicted 12 accused in the case four days ago, is now hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment.
Most of the defence witnesses examined today were relatives of the convicts. Under the law, convicts have the right to point out `mitigating circumstances' and produce witnesses for this purpose.
Four of the 12 convicts examined witnesses in the court today, at least two others will do it tomorrow.
Nadeem Ansari, who deposed at the instance of the convict Ehtesham Siddiqui, said he himself was an accused in another bomb blast case and spoke about the hardships faced by the accused in the jail, drawing on his own experience.
Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) judge Yatin D Shinde, on September 11, convicted 12 accused in connection with the July 11, 2006, serial bomb blasts in Mumbai local trains in which 188 persons were killed. The judge acquitted only Abdul Wahid Shaikh.
Those who deposed today were the brother of the convict Dr Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, brother of another convict Asif Khan, wife of the convict Mohammad Majid Shafi and jail-mate of Ehtesham Siddiqui.
Aziz Khan told the court that his brother Asif was an excellent person and had a very good academic record. "He was always helpful to others and in my opinion he could not have done it (the blasts)," Aziz told the court.
However, during the cross examination by prosecution, he said that Asif was also an accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case and the Jalgaon blast case. There was also a case for inciting communal hatred against Asif, he admitted.