The verdict for the 117 attacks, which changed how a large section of Mumbaikars viewed their daily commute on the city’s lifeline, came on the 14th anniversary of the 9 11 attacks in New York City , which changed the way the world viewed terrorism.
The investigators had said that the bombings were designed by the Pakistanbased Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which used banned Indian outfit SIMI, to execute their plan. According to the police, 10 members of the LeT had brought around 15-20kg RDX with them from Pakis tan and made bombs using the deadly explosive. They used young Indians to execute their terror plot.
The seven blasts occurred in a span of eight minutes, starting 6.23pm, on trains at or near Khar, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Mahim, Borivli, Matunga and Mira Road stations. The court’s pronouncement, which brought some sort of closure for the victims’ kin as well as survivors, came at 12.05pm after incamera proceedings where all the 13 accused, their lawyers, serving and former officers of the Anti-Terrorism Squad and intelligence officers were present. Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court judge Yatin Shinde read out sections of the Indian Penal Code, MCOCA and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act before pronouncing the verdict, which did not provoke any outward expression of emotion from any of the accused, who range in age from 33 to 46.They come from diverse backgrounds and professions ranging from a unani medical practitioner and software engineer to a footwear shopowner and a local lock-and-key maker. One of the planters, Ehtesham Siddiqui, is known to be a religious book writer and publisher from Mira Road. “Faisal Shaikh, who played a major role in the bombings, had visited Pakistan twice–in 2004 and 2005–and got training in LeT camps in assembling bombs and operating firearms. He was in direct touch with the LeT’s Bahawalpur camp chief, Azam Cheema.Money was sent from Pakistan to other countries and finally reached India to carry out the blasts,“ said an officer who was part of the investigation.
SPP Thakare said he would study various judgments, including the one that gave Yakub Memon death, as well as the Law Commission report (which has recommended death for on ly terror attacks) before making his arguments.
The trial in the case concluded in August 2014, leaving a little over a year for the pronouncement of the judgment. The date of the judgement and production warrants were issued to the accused only a day earlier.
All 13 accused were brought into court room number 58 amid heavy security around 11.30am. Security around the entire fifth floor of the court building was beefed up and the four elevators were not allowed to go beyond the fourth floor.The courtroom is housed at the end of the corridor and is fortified with collapsible gates and a metal detector. As proceedings commenced, the gates were locked. The proceedings lasted only about 20-25 minutes.
About 50 journalists across various newspapers and channels were banned from attending the proceedings. The court’s decision to keep the media at bay came after an application was filed by the police officer in charge of the security .