MUMBAI: “They are the merchants of death. Why the honest tax payers’ money should be used to keep them alive?” This was the argument of Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare who demanded death sentence to eight convicts and life imprisonment to four in the July 11, 2006 train serial blasts case, on Wednesday .
With arguments from the defence and prosecution over the sentences having concluded, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Special Judge Yatin Shinde is likely to deliver his judgment in the case on September 30. Shinde convicted 12 while acquitting one. The serial blasts of RDX bombs had killed 189 people and injured 829.
A day after he had announced that the prosecution did not want capital punishment for all 12 convicts, Thakare sought death sentence for Kamal Ahamed Ansari, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, Muhammad Faisal Shaikh, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, Muhammad Sajid Ansari, Naved Hussain Khan and Asif Khan. He told the court that it may consider a punishment slightly on a different footing than these eight for the remaining convicts, Muhammad Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Soheil Shaikh and Zamir Ahmed.
“In the event the court finds that these four convicts deserve some leniency, then my submission is that they are found guilty for offences which attract multiple life imprisonments. They should be sentenced to life till end of their lives or for not less than 60 years,” a witty Thakare said.
Pointing out that the Law Commission had retained death sentences in cases of terrorism and crime against the State, Thakare argued that family background and mental health could not be a justification to spare the convicts from the noose.
Thakare argued that the accused’s claim that Indian Mujahideen co-founder Sadik Sheikh set the blasts fell flat when they called him as a witness. He also said that the conviction was not based on their confession, but on the circumstantial evidences against them.