Mumbai 7/11 train blasts: 5 get death, 7 sent to life in prison

Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai
Oct 01, 2015 12:58 AM IST

Five convicts in the 2006 Mumbai local train bombings, which killed 188 people, were on Wednesday sentenced to death by a Mumbai special court. Besides claiming 188 lives, the serial train blasts left 817 people injured on the evening of July 11, 2006, from 6.23pm onwards - the return peak hour when the suburban trains are choked with commuters going home.

Five convicts were sentenced to death and seven others given life imprisonment on Wednesday by a Mumbai special court in the 2006 local train bombings which killed 188 people and injured over 800.

One of the 12 men, convicted of planning several blasts on crowded commuter trains in Mumbai in 2006, is escorted by police to a court in Mumbai, India, September 30.(REUTERS)
One of the 12 men, convicted of planning several blasts on crowded commuter trains in Mumbai in 2006, is escorted by police to a court in Mumbai, India, September 30.(REUTERS)

Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court judge Yatin Shinde sentenced to death Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan who planted the bombs in various trains.

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The other seven convicts who provided materials and logistical support for making the bombs-- Mohammed Sajid Ansari, Mohammed Ali, Dr Tanveer Ansari, Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh -- were sentenced to life.

On July 11, 2006, seven blasts tore through the first-class compartments of crowded local trains in a span of 11 minutes during the evening rush hour as millions of office-goers were heading home. The blast occurred between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.

According to investigators, around 20kg of RDX were packed into pressure cookers, placed in bags and hidden under newspapers and umbrellas. The explosions were so powerful that they ripped through the double layered steel roof and sides of the train compartments.

The serial blasts brought the lifeline of the country’s financial capital to a grinding halt for the first time.

Police said the suspects targeted local trains as they were crowded and the security was not as tight as the other surveyed sites. They divided themselves into seven teams, each consisting of a Pakistani national and an Indian national, and the bombs were taken to Churchgate station on July 11 by taxis.

There was a controversy over the investigations with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) first claiming in its chargesheet in November, 2006 that the operation was carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba with help from the Students’Islamic Movement of India.

But more than two years later, the Mumbai crime branch arrested 31-year old Mohammed Sadiq Israr Sheikh who claimed that his organisation -- Indian Mujahideen -- was behind the blasts. The video tapes of his confession were made available to Hindustan Times.

The court allowed to examine Sadiq as a defence witness, but he later claimed that he gave his confession under duress.

The prosecution had earlier asked for capital punishment to eight of the 12 convicts and life terms for the remaning four.

Terming the convicts “merchants of death”, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare told the court that money of taxpayers should not be spent on upkeep of convicts.

After the quantum of sentences was read out, the defence team said they will move the high court in appeal.

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