MUMBAI (TIP): Describing them as “merchants of death”, the prosecution in the 7/11 serial train blasts on Wednesday sought capital punishment for eight of the 12 convicts who planted bombs in crowded Western Railways suburban locals in Mumbai.
The blasts claimed over 200 lives and injured over 1,000 people. For the remaining four accused, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the prosecuting agency is demanding life imprisonment.
Additional Sessions Judge Y D Shinde, who presides over a special court set up under Maharashtra Control for Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), reserved the next hearing for September 30, when he would pronounce the quantum of sentence.
On September 11, Judge Shinde convicted 12 of the 13 accused in the case. The blasts was planned by Bahawalpur-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Azam Cheema alias Babaji, who double up as an ISI operative. He and his close aides took the help of homegrown activists of banned Students Islamic Movement of India
(SIMI), which over the years has taken shape as Indian Mujahideen (IM).
The lone accused to be acquitted is Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh (38) and he has been released from prison.
“Considering their role, eight convicts deserve death penalty,” Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakre said.
The convicts for whom death was sought are- Kamal Ahamed Ansari, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Shaikh Alam Shaikh, Mohammed Sajid Ansari, Naved Hussain Khan and Asif Khan. For the remaining four convicts — Mohamid Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Soheil Shaikh and Zamir Ahmed Shaikh — life jail term was sought.
While giving reference to the recent Law Commission recommendation on death penalty, Thakre said: “The Commission says that death penalty should be gradually done away with, but in terror cases, it is there and everyone’s desire is that such offences call for no mercy. Law must respond to the society’s cry for justice.”