The trial for the July 11, 2006, serial blasts started on an odd note on Wednesday, as none of the lawyers of the accused showed up in court. Seven bombs had ripped through Mumbai’s trains on this fateful day, killing 187 and injuring 890 people.
The first hearing in the blasts conspiracy case began at 11 am. Twice did the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court set a new deadline during the day, but the three lawyers representing some of the 13 accused failed to turn up.
The court then ordered the three to be present for the next hearing on Friday, failing which a noting would be sent to the Bar Council of India for action against them.
Five of the 13 accused, who allegedly belong to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) and the now banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), have not hired any lawyer and have also refused to accept “legal aid” from the court. These are Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Tanvir Sheikh, Sajid Ansari and Abdul Wahid.
“It appears the accused are trying to delay the trial and the framing of charges under MCOCA,” special public prosecutor Raja Thakre said.
He said one of the accused, Asif Khan Basheer Khan alias Junaid, a former state SIMI president and one of the three alleged 11/7 masterminds, had challenged in the Bombay High Court the invoking of MCOCA provisions and the “accused men may be trying to buy time till the issue is settled”.
The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), the investigating agency in the case, on Wednesday also submitted a supplementary chargesheet in the case. The supplementary chargesheet merges with the July 11 blasts case the one involving the seizure of 500 gm of RDX from the Madhubani in Bihar, home of the accused Ansari, at the time of his arrest on July 20.