The trial of the 11/7 serial blasts case got off to a fiery start on Tuesday with the 13 accused refusing to cooperate with Judge MR Bhatkar. Saying they had no faith in the court, they refused to defend themselves, appoint a lawyer or cross-examine witnesses on their own.
Holding up strips of paper with “No faith in the court of MR Bhatkar”, they even objected when an amicus curiae (independent lawyer assisting the court), Rizwan Merchant, took over their representation. The accused complained about the leaking of their confessions to the media. They claimed that the Anti-Terrorism Squad had extracted the confessions by force. The judge replied: "The court is not run by the media; its decision is not moulded by media reports."
The trial in the case, the seven blasts on suburban trains claimed 189 lives and injured 714, has been a contentious one with the accused moving the Bombay High Court twice, expressing a lack of confidence in Judge Bhatkar, who presides over the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act Court. They pleaded that the trial be shifted to another court. The high court rejected their plea but reserved its order.