(Press Trust of India)

Nine years after seven RDX bombs kept in Mumbai suburban trains exploded killing 188 people and injuring 829, a MCOCA court in Mumbai convicted 12 people in the serial blasts case.

One of the targeted trains in Mumbai’s Matunga
One of the targeted trains in Mumbai’s Matunga

Seven RDX bombs had ripped through the first class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains on July 11, 2006. The blast occurred between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road-Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.

Delivering the verdict, the Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Judge Yatin D Shinde pronounced 12 accused as guilty while acquitting one accused Abdul Wahid Shaikh (34) in the case.

The 12 accused who were convicted are: Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43), Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36), Naveed Hussain Khan (30) and Asif Khan (38).

However, Azam Chima, along with 14 others, are still absconding in the case. Arguments for the quantum of sentence are likely to begin Monday.

In the trial that lasted eight years, the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, including eight Indian Police Service and five Indian Administrative Service officers as well as 18 doctors. The defence lawyers examined 51 witnesses and one person was called as a court witness.

The deposition made by witnesses runs into around 5,500 pages. Seven RDX bombs had exploded in the first class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains on July 11, 2006, killing 188 people and injuring 829.

According to an investigation officer, while planting bombs in trains, the accused started their journey from Churchgate station and after placing seven bombs in trains, except one, all got off the trains before Dadar. The blasts began from Matunga.

The MCOCA judge had concluded the trial on August 19 last year. The examination of witnesses resumed after two years since the Supreme Court had stayed the trial in 2008.

Before the stay, the prosecution had already examined a police officer. The Supreme Court vacated the stay on April 23, 2010.

Former top cop hails verdict

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy, who had a role in the investigations into the 2006 Mumbai train blasts case, welcomed the court verdict.

Roy said: “I am happy the way investigations were conducted. Investigations were done throughly by the Mumbai Police and the ATS. To start with, it was a blind case. We had no clue. But I am satisfied with the verdict.”

Subash Kamble, who was travelling on a train from Bandra on July 11, 2006, felt the judgement had come too late but expected that the convicts would get the strictest punishment when the quantum of sentence is pronounced next Monday.

“It is too late. Nine years is a long time… We demand death penalty for the guilty. Those who are still out, government should take swift action and convict them. We will be content when death penalty is awarded to the guilty. People lost their loved ones,” Kamble said.

On the verdict, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare said: “It is not a question of my being happy or unhappy. What really matters… we are concerned with the death of so many people … People at large should be satisfied.”

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