Nine years after a series of blasts in seven trains in Mumbai killed at least 188 commuters and injured over 800, a special MCOCA court on Friday convicted 12 out of the 13 accused in the case.
The quantum of punishment in the case will be announced on Monday.
The accused convicted by the court are: Faisal Shaikh, Ali Bashir Khan, Mohammad Ali, Majid Shafi, Sajid Ansari, Kamal Ansari, Ethesham Siddiqui, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh, Muzammil Shaikh, Tanvir Ansari and Naved Hussain.
As per the prosecution’s case, the accused persons were activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
July 11, 2006: The Blasts
On the day of the attacks, they reportedly travelled in different taxis to Churchgate station with seven bags of explosives and planted them on various trains.
On July 11, 2006, starting at 6:24 pm seven blasts ripped through the first class compartments of the trains at Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road stations in eight minutes.
As many as 188 people were killed and 817 injured.
Between July and October 2006, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police arrested 13 people in connection with the blasts. Most of the accused, were from the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned Islamic organisation that was formed in Uttar Pradesh in 1977.
Four months after the blasts, on November 30, the ATS filed a chargesheet in the case. 13 arrested accused and 15 absconding accused were charged under MCOCA.
On 29 September 2006, nearly three months after the train blasts, A N Roy, the police commissioner of Mumbai at that time, said that the bombs that had caused the explosions were planted in pressure cookers and placed across the first-class compartments of different local trains by members of the LeT.
June, 2007: Trial Begins
The trial commenced in June 2007.
But in a major hurdle that cost the case two years, the Supreme Court stayed the trial in February 2008 after one of the 13 accused, Kamal Ansari, said that the phrase 'promoting insurgency' in the definition of organized crime in MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) was unconstitutional.
In April 2010, the apex court dismissed the petition, ordering the trial's resumption.
In July, 2008, two of the accused filed an application before the court accusing the police of torture.
They alleged that they had been tortured by the police, and that they were being falsely implicated in the case as their confessions had been extracted under extreme pressure.
September, 2008: Arrest Of IM Operatives
On September 2008, the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested five IM operatives. Crime branch probe showed IM carried out the bombings, contradicting ATS that Pakistani nationals also planted bombs.
February 13, 2010: Lawyer Shot Dead
On February 13, 2010, Shahid Azmi, a young lawyer who defended 26/11 Indian accused Fahim Ansari, was shot dead in his Mumbai office. Shahid, the nephew of Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi, had defended many suspected terrorists and had been threatened earlier by the underworld for defending them.
August 30, 2013: Yasin Bhatkal Arrested
Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of IM, was arrested at Indo-Nepal border by the investigation bureau for carrying out a series of blasts across the country.
Yasin claimed the 2006 bombings were done by IM in retaliation to the 2002 riots, raising questions about arrest of 13 accused by ATS.
After the prosecution had examined a total of 200 witnesses in the case, while the defence advocates examined a total of 40 witnesses, the trial concluded on 20 August, 2014.
The special MCOCA court in Mumbai passed the verdict on the case.
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