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Mumbai Serial Blast verdict, Innocents charged

Alleges Gulzar Azmi, who will challenge the verdict of MCOCA in the Bombay High Court.

mumbai2006blastsconvictsThe Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has awarded death sentence to five convicts Kamal Ansari, Faisal Atur Rahman Shaikh, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Naveed Khan and Asif Khan for their role in the 2006 Mumbai serial blasts. The remaining seven, who have been sentenced to life are Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, Mohammad Majid Shafi, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, Mohd Sajid Ansari, Muzzammil Shaikh, Soheil Mehmood Shaikh and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh. The gruesome incident had claimed the lives of 189 people. On the other hand, convicts lawyers expressed their displeasure over the verdict and said that they will move the Bombay High Court against the order.

Gulzar Azmi, Secretary of Jamiat-e-Ulema, who is legally supporting convicts said, “We are confident that justice will be done in the High Court. The real culprits are not caught and innocent are been charged. Many times High Court has overturned the lower courts order and deliver justice.”

Meanwhile, convict Ehteshaam Siddique has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh claiming innocence.

Convicts Defence lawyer Sharif Sheikh said that his clients were innocent and that he would now challenge the verdict of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in the Bombay High Court.

“The court has convicted all of the accused. They are innocent. They were rather the victims. The court has somewhere committed a mistake. It has not made efforts to find the truth. Whatever the advocates and the accused could do, they did. We will challenge the case in the high court” said Sharif Sheikh.

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 charge sheet filed by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in November 2006 had named 30 accused, out of which 17 of them are absconding. The absconding which comprise 13 Pakistan nationals, include Azam Chima, an alleged Lashker-e-Taiba member.

Reacting to the judgement, former ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi “My team which carried out investigation stands vindicated. I hope this brings some closure to families of the victims. We are satisfied that court has given the important order that ATS had investigated the case in the right direction.”

“All the claims of people who had accused us of arresting the wrong people have been proved false. With this verdict, police’s credibility has increased. The judgement proves that truth cannot be hidden” he added.

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

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.

“For the hundreds killed in the blasts, thousands affected indirectly, only five have been awarded death sentence. I expected death for all accused. Everyone should be hanged. They have been proven guilty”, said Padamchand Gandhi (51).

K Pande (65) another victim too is unhappy with the judgment. He said, “Everyone involved must be brought to account. I feel instead of hanging them, which is quick and easy way to end their misery, they must be made to live in penance in jail. They should be made to remember every day why they are in prison.”

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