Mumbai: Five out of twelve convicts were sentenced to death on Wednesday for planting bombs on local trains on July 11 in 2006.
Seven out of them were awarded life imprisonment by special MCOCA court for the blasts in seven packed trains in a span of 11 minutes that killed 189 people.
Delivering the verdict, Special Judge Yatin D Shinde pronounced capital punishment for Kamal Ahamed Ansari (37), Mohd Faisal Shaikh (36), Ehtesham Siddiqui (30), Naveed Hussain Khan (30) and Asif Khan (38), all of them bomb planters.
The remaining seven, who were spared the noose, are Tanvir Ahmed Ansari (37), Mohammad Majid Shafi (32), Shaikh Alam Shaikh (41), Mohd Sajid Ansari (34), Muzzammil Shaikh (27), Soheil Mehmood Shaikh (43) and Zamir Ahmad Shaikh (36).
The blasts had ripped the suburban trains within a span of 10 minutes between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.
Reacting to the verdict, Gulzar Azmi, Secretary of Jamiat-ul Ulema, Maharashtra which provides legal aid to the convicts said that we will move to High Court.
Shinde had last week concluded hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence when prosecution demanded death penalty for 8 of the 12 accused while it sought life imprisonment for the remaining four.
On September 23, the Special MCOCA court had reserved its order on sentencing in the case for September 30.
Earlier, on September 11, it 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).
After 12 accused were found guilty, Judge Shinde, later, allowed the defence lawyers to examine witnesses to bring out the mitigating circumstances in the case.
Defence lawyers subsequently examined nine witnesses to show the court that the accused have undergone reformation and and thus may not be given capital punishment.
The list of witnesses included the relatives of accused, doctors, teachers etc while one of the convicts examined another accused in Mumbai 2012 serial blasts.
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-toaiba.
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.