In a set back to the prosecution in the July 11 serial blasts case, seven accused on Monday retracted their confession before a special court saying they were taken under duress by police.
The accused are Faizal Shaikh, Muzammil Shaikh, Tanvir Ahmed Ansari, Mohammed Kamal Ansari, Ethesham Siddiqui, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Ahmed Ansari.
The stand of the accused to resile their statements given to the police comes 10 days after Mumbai police claimed that they had cracked the train blasts case.
Appearing before special judge MR Bhatkar, the accused said police had obtained their signatures on blank papers and also they were not produced before a Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for recording confessions.
Under the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), it is mandatory for police to produce accused before a competent authority if they wish to give their confession.
The retraction of confessions by the accused came as a surprise to the prosecution as they were still in police custody. Normally, an accused retracts confession when he is placed in judicial custody, legal sources said.
However, after the accused went back on their confessions, the court remanded them to judicial custody for the first time on Monday. They shall be produced again on July 20.
Of the 16 accused, 12 have been arrested under MCOCA. Of these, seven retracted their statements, while five others would be produced on October 13 for extension of remand.