The 12 men convicted for the July 11, 2006 train bombings on Monday pleaded for lenient sentences in court. Some contended that they had been falsely implicated in the case while others said they and their families had already suffered a lot.
Faishal Shaikh, a key conspirator who also planted of one of the bombs, told the court he has no criminal antecedents and that he suffers from a brain tumour.
According to the prosecution, Shaikh was the western India chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and planted the bomb that went off near Jogeshwari station. He worked under the direct supervision of LeT commander Azam Cheema, the main conspirator. His brother Muzammil was also found guilty of participating in the conspiracy and visiting Pakistan for training. Rahil, another of Shaikh’s brothers, is wanted in the case.
While pleading for a lenient sentence, Muzammil said that as all three brothers had been implicated in the case, there was no one to take care of their families. “We don’t even know if our third brother [Rahil] is alive or not,” Muzzammil said.
Dr Tanvir Ansari, another convict, pleaded innocence, saying he joined the medical profession to help the poor and work for humanity. He said he continued his work in jail, where he treated sick prisoners.
Faisal Shaikh is a key conspirator who also planted of one of the bombs. (Vijayanand Gupta/HT photo)
According to the prosecution, Ansari was trained in Pakistan and was present when the bombs were made. Convict Ehtesham Sidduqui, allegedly the Maharashtra joint secretary of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned outfit, who planted the bomb that exploded at Mira Road, said he was from a very poor family and had been studying law in jail.
Asif Khan, convicted for procuring the explosives and planting the bomb that exploded at Borivali station, said he has changed a lot over the past nine years in jail, where he read 27 books on Mahatma Gandhi.
Convicts Kamal Ansari and Naveed Khan claimed they had been falsely implicated in the case, as did Sajid Ansari, who was convicted of helping to make the bombs. “I have sympathy for the victims of the blast as I am also a victim in the case,” Ansari said.
Family members of the 2006 Mumbai train bombings convicts wait outside Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. (Vijayanand Gupta/HT photo)