Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Mumbai trains blasts: Five awarded death, seven life in jail

Himalayan Paths

Mumbai, Sep 30 (IANS) A Mumbai special court on Wednesday awarded the death penalty to five and life in prison to seven others, all convicted in the 7/11 serial blasts on the city’s suburban trains which killed 189 people.

On September 11, Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Judge Y.D. Shinde had found all the 12 guilty of their role in the July 11, 2006, serial blasts in the suburban trains – Mumbai’s lifeline, which also injured 817 peak-hour commuters rushing home that rainy evening.

Those awarded the death penalty are: Kamal A. Ansari, 37, Ehtesham K. Siddiqui, 30, Faisal Attaur Rehman Sheikh, 36, Asif Khan alias Junaid, 38, Naved Hussain Khan, 30.

Seven other convicts awarded life term in jail are: medico Tanvir A. Ansari, 37, Mohammed Sajid Ansari, 34, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Alam Sheikh, 40, Mohammed Majid Shafi, 30, Muzammil Sheikh, 27, Soheil Mohammed Sheikh, 43, and Zamir Ahmed Sheikh, 36.

During the prolonged arguments of nearly three weeks on the quantum of sentence on the convicts, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre had demanded death penalty for eight of the 12 convicts, terming them as “merchants of death”.

A teacher, Abdul Wahid Sheikh, was the lone accused who was acquitted in the case, while another prime accused, Azam Chima, alleged to be linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), is among the 17 who are missing and on the run. They include 13 Pakistani nationals.

Stunned by the punishment, the relatives of the convicts who were awarded death sentence, said they would challenge the Special MCOCA Court verdict in the Bombay High Court.

In the verdict, Special Judge Shinde found that M. Faisal Attaur Rehman Shaikh, who was awarded death penalty, had gone to Pakistan twice for training. He had also sent youth to Pakistan for training, had harboured Pakistanis at his home, and received money by the hawala route.

Similarly, Kamal A. Ansari was also trained in Pakistan, transported Pakistanis from the Nepal border to Mumbai, procured explosive material and planted the bomb which exploded in the suburban train at Matunga.

Naved Hussain Khan surveyed the trains, transported a bomb from Govandi to Bandra, planted one bomb on the train which exploded at Khar station.

Asif Khan alias Junaid procured the explosive material used to make the bomb, and planted one which exploded in the train at Borivali.

The Maharashtra joint secretary of the banned SIMI, Ehtesham K. Siddiqui, had recced local trains, transported Pakistanis to Mumbra in Thane district, was present when the bombs were made at a house in Govandi, planted the bomb which exploded in the train at Mira Road.

Five among the seven convicts awarded life sentence were trained in Pakistan, while Mohammed Majid Shafi, 30, helped transport Pakistanis from Bangladesh border to Mumbai and then back to Bangladesh after the terror blasts.

Mohammed Sajid Ansari, 34, had provided the electrical circuits for the bombs which went off with precision at the intended targets that evening.

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