10 guilty, three acquitted in Mumbai triple blasts case

Mumbai, March 29 (IANS) A Special POTA Court on Tuesday held 10 people guilty in connection with the triple bomb blasts in Mumbai between December 2002 and March 2003 that killed at least 12 people and injured 139 others.

Acquitting three other accused, POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) Special Judge P.R. Deshmukh posted the pronouncement of the quantum of sentence for the convicts to Wednesday.

Those convicted include a former SIMI general secretary.

The first blast occurred near McDonald’s eatery in Mumbai Central Terminus on December 6, 2002, another in a Vile Parle market on January 27, 2003 and the third in a crowded ladies First Class compartment of a suburban train near Mulund on March 13, 2003.

The prosecution said the accused, mostly members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), wanted to avenge the razing of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992 and the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.

Convicted former SIMI general secretary Saquib Nachan was described by police as the “mastermind” of the blasts.

Three accused – Haroon Lohar, Nadeem Paloba and Adnan Mulla – were acquitted by the court for lack of sufficient evidence against them.

The prosecution contended that Nachan, along with Pakistani Faisal Khan who was linked to terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, carried out the blasts along with 23 other accused.

Of the 25 accused listed by police, a majority were nabbed in 2003, five died during the trial and five are still absconding.

Nachan was accused of arranging manpower, arms and ammunition, co-accused medico Wahid Ansari and some other absconders accused of manufacturing the bombs while Muzammil Ansari and another absconder planted the bombs.

The three cases – though far between and in different parts of Mumbai – were clubbed together by the court as a common conspiracy linked them.

All the accused were charged with murder, attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt, waging war against the nation, criminal conspiracy besides several charges under the Indian Penal Code, Railways Act, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and POTA.

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