Mumbai: The prolonged legal battle in the July 11, 2006 serial train blasts that hit Mumbai exactly five years ago may come to an end soon, senior officials overseeing the case said.
The serial blasts that took place in seven trains in a span of 11 minutes on that fateful day on the Western Railway had killed 187 persons and injuring over 800 others.
The trial against 13 persons allegedly members of the banned SIMI and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commenced in May last year after the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by one of the accused Kamal Ansari challenging the constitutional validity of a section pertaining to insurgency under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) invoked against the accused.
"111 witnesses have been examined in the case so far out of which three have turned hostile. There are about 15 witnesses remaining. The prosecution has submitted the affidavits of over 200 witnesses. At the present speed, the trial should conclude within four months," a senior official said.
On July 11, 2006 RDX laden bombs ripped the first class compartments of seven local trains in the Western railways during peak evening hours. The blasts had taken place within the span of 11 minutes between 6.24 pm to 6.35 pm.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) probing the case had arrested 13 alleged members of SIMI and LeT for carrying out the blasts. The agency in its chargesheet had charged the accused under various sections of Indian Penal Code, MCOCA and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The trial was stayed by the Supreme Court in February 2008 after Ansari moved the court. However, the apex court had directed for the trial to continue after rejecting the accused`s plea.
The 13 arrested accused are Faisal Shaikh, Ali Bashir Khan, Mohammad Ali, Majid Shafi, Sajid Ansari, Kamal Ansari, Ethesham Siddiqui, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh, Muzammil Shaikh, Tanvir Ansari, Naveed Hussai and Abdul Shaikh.