Convicts in 7/11 train blasts case plead minimum sentence

All the twelve convicts found guilty in the case relating to the July 11, 2006 serial train blasts, which claimed 188 lives in local trains in Mumbai, today pleaded leniency in the court on the point of sentence citing humanitarian grounds.

Designated Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Judge Yatin D Shinde had on September 11 held them guilty of complicity in the crime while acquitting 34-year-old Abdul Wahid Shaikh, also an accused, in the case.

They were found guilty of planting bombs in local trains which exploded at various stations in the peak hours causing panic among the commuters returning home from work.

The judge called each convict before him and recorded their respective statements on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them.

After the court records their statements, their lawyers and the prosecution would argue on the quantum of sentence. The proceedings would continue tomorrow.

Convict Kamal Ansari pleaded that minimum punishment be given to him. “I have small kids”, Ansari told the court.

Another convict, Tanvir Ahmed, a doctor, said he had chosen the profession to help the poor and he wished to serve the needy. He also said that he had worked in a charitable hospital.

“I have no past criminal record and I have behaved well in the jail (as an undertrial). I did a post graduation in disaster management and have improved my academic records”, Tanvir told the court. He also said that he did pose a danger to the society and prayed for minimum punishment.

Another convict, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh, also prayed for a lesser sentence saying he was suffering from brain tumor for the past three years. “I got brain tumor in jail. I also have spine-related ailments”. He said he was not convicted by any court earlier and does not have any intention to commit any crime in future.

Shaikh said his parents were old and there was nobody to take care of them. “My brother has also been convicted in the same case”, he said seeking minimum punishment.

Yet another convict, Ehtesham Siddiqui, told the court that he hails from a poor family and was operating a small business (before arrest). “I could not get education as we were poor and with great difficulty I was able to learn. My brother runs the family and he is not financially sound”, said Siddiqui.

He further said that after going to jail he was able to get education and currently he is doing graduation in law. He also pleaded for minimum punishment saying that there is nobody to take care of his family after he goes to jail.