Five persons were today sentenced to death and seven others imprisoned for life by a special court here for the serial blasts on Mumbai local trains nine years ago that left 189 commuters dead and over 800 injured.
Delivering the verdict, Special MCOCA Judge Yatin D Shinde awarded capital punishment to Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Naveed Hussain Khan (30) and Asif Khan (38). Seven accused spared of the noose were Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43) and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36). All of them having links with banned outfit SIMI
The blasts, which sent shockwaves across the metro, ripped seven suburban trains within a span of 10 minutes between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road,Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander,Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.
Seven RDX bombs exploded in the first class coaches in as many suburban trains, killing 189 people and injuring 829. The ATS chargesheet had said that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were made in a room in Govandi in suburban Mumbai and some Pakistani nationals were also present during the bomb-making.
After a long-drawn trial, on September 11 the court convicted 12 of the 13 accused, all allegedly having links with banned SIMI, while acquitting one. The court had last week concluded hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence when prosecution demanded death penalty for 8 of the 12 accused while it sought life imprisonment for the remaining four.
Five of the accused were found guilty under IPC 302 (Murder). All the accused were found guilty of charges under IPC, Explosives Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Indian Railway Act and those under MCOCA. The court also found all them guilty under Section 3 (1) (i) of MCOCA, which attracts capital punishment.
During the investigations, 13 accused, all of them Indians, were arrested and brought to trial. The chargesheet filed by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in November 2006 had named 30 accused, out of which 17 of them are absconding.
Among the absconding are 13 Pakistan nationals, including Azam Chima, member of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba. After the accused were found guilty, Judge Shinde had allowed the defence lawyers to examine witnesses to bring out the mitigating circumstances in the case.
Defence lawyers examined nine witnesses, including relatives of the accused, to show the court that the accused haf undergone reformation and sought them to be spared of capital punishment. The defence then pleaded leniency, saying the 12 convicts were merely the pawns of mastermind Cheema.