A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court will pronounce on March 29 its verdict in the triple bomb blasts case that took place in Mumbai between December 2002 and March 2003.
“The date of March 29 has been reserved for judgment by Special Judge P R Deshmukh. All interested parties have been asked to remain present on the said day,” said a source.
Three bombs exploded in three different parts of the city of Mumbai in a span of a little over three months. The first blast took place on December 6, 2002, at McDonald’s restaurant on the main building premises of the Mumbai Central railway station. The second blast occurred on January 27, 2003, in a crowded market in Vile Parle East, while the third blast took place in a jam-packed Karjat-bound local train at the Mulund railway station on March 13, 2003. As many as 12 persons died in these blasts and 27 were seriously injured.
The Mumbai Police had said the blasts were the handiwork of Students Islamic Movement of India activists who were led by Saquib Nachan, the former general secretary of the banned outfit. A total of 16 persons were arrested in the case. Apart from Nachan, those arrested include Muzammil Ansari, an engineer, and Dr Anwar Ali, a PhD degree holder who taught Urdu at National Defence Academy, Pune.
The police chargesheet claimed that the group’s intention was to wage war against the state/Government of India as they wanted to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid, aftermath of Godhra riots and the so-called atrocities meted out to Muslims in India. The police claimed that they were also planning to commit acts of terrorism such as explosion of bombs and killing political leaders. The police said planning for the blasts was done with the help of two Pakistani nationals and a Kashmiri man — Abu Sultan, Abu Anwar Ali and Mohammed Iqbal Wani, respectively, who were alleged to have been Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.
The police had also claimed that the group received training in firing weapons on a hillock near Padgha. It had also recovered lethal weapons like AK-56 and AK-47 from their homes.
“Nachan collected men, firearms, ammunition and material for preparing bombs and arranged for training of the Muslim youths with the intention of waging war or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India,” the chargesheet of the Mumbai Police against Nachan reads.
As many as 15 of those initially arrested, including Nachan, were given bail by court in 2011. The only one who is still in jail for his role in the blasts is Muzammil Ansari. Born in Malegaon, the mechanical engineer is accused of planting the three bombs and has been repeatedly denied bail.