Five convicts were sentenced to death and seven others given life imprisonment on Wednesday by a Mumbai special court in the 2006 local train bombings which killed 188 people and injured over 800.
Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court judge Yatin Shinde sentenced to death Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan who planted the bombs in various trains.
The other seven convicts who provided materials and logistical support for making the bombs– Mohammed Sajid Ansari, Mohammed Ali, Dr Tanveer Ansari, Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh — were sentenced to life.
On July 11, 2006, seven blasts tore through the first-class compartments of crowded local trains in a span of 11 minutes during the evening rush hour as millions of office-goers were heading home. The blast occurred between Khar Road-Santacruz, Bandra-Khar Road, Jogeshwari-Mahim Junction, Mira Road- Bhayander, Matunga- Mahim Junction and Borivali.
According to investigators, around 20kg of RDX were packed into pressure cookers, placed in bags and hidden under newspapers and umbrellas. The explosions were so powerful that they ripped through the double layered steel roof and sides of the train compartments.
The serial blasts brought the lifeline of the country’s financial capital to a grinding halt for the first time.
Police said the suspects targeted local trains as they were crowded and the security was not as tight as the other surveyed sites. They divided themselves into seven teams, each consisting of a Pakistani national and an Indian national, and the bombs were taken to Churchgate station on July 11 by taxis.
There was a controversy over the investigations with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) first claiming in its chargesheet in November, 2006 that the operation was carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba with help from the Students’Islamic Movement of India.
But more than two years later, the Mumbai crime branch arrested 31-year old Mohammed Sadiq Israr Sheikh who claimed that his organisation — Indian Mujahideen — was behind the blasts. The video tapes of his confession were made available to Hindustan Times.