Nine years after a series of bomb blasts in suburban trains rattled Mumbai killing 188 people, a special court in Mumbai has sentenced five persons to death in the case, TV news reports said.
A special MCOCA court has awarded the death penalty to Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Siddiqui and Naveed Khan, Hindustan Times reported.
The remaining seven persons who were convicted have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The five who have been given the death penalty have been convicted under various sections, including those of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Penal Code, as reported by The Indian Express.
Speaking to the media, the defence lawyer said that he would file an appeal against the verdict.
The prosecution had demandeded death penalty for 8 of the 12 accused while it sought life imprisonment for the remaining four.
On September 11, the court had convicted 12 of the 13 accused, all allegedly having links with banned SIMI, while acquitting one.
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 the 12 accused guilty under Section 3 (1) (i) of MCOCA, which could also attract capital punishment.
Those 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).
Defence lawyers subsequently examined nine witnesses to show the court that the accused have undergone reformation and thus may not be given capital punishment.
After the examination of witnesses, the defence advocates pleaded leniency saying that the 12 convicts were merely the pawns of mastermind Azam Cheema, member of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba. They also pointed out that the convicts faced several hardships in jail and that was also one of the mitigating circumstances.
On the other hand, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare called the convicts “merchants of death” and pressed for capital punishment to eight of the twelve convicts.
The ATS charge sheet 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.
Seven RDX bombs had exploded in the first class coaches in many suburban trains on July 11, 2006, killing 188 people and injuring 829.
The blast occurred within a span of 10 minutes between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.
With inputs from PTI
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