A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court may deliver its verdict nine years after the Mumbai serial train blasts, which killed nearly 200 people and injured at least 800, either in the last week of July or first week of August.
The July 11, 2006 serial blasts, carried out in a span of just 11 minutes, targeted the crowded suburban train services during the evening peak hours as bombs kept in pressure cookers went off in north-bound locals on Western Railway.
The blasts took place at Bhayander, Borivali, Jogeshwari, Khar Road, Bandra, Mahim and Matunga Road and one unexploded bomb was found by police and defused at Borivali.
Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested 13 accused in connection with the case. Like many other blast cases, this too wasn't without controversies after claims that the ATS falsely implicated some people came up following the arrest of 22 Indian Mujahideen operatives by the Mumbai crime branch in September 2008.
But those claims fell through after Mohammed Sadiq Israr Sheikh, the co-founder of Indian Mujahideen who was arrested in September 2008, turned hostile before the MCOCA court. Sadiq in his confessional statement had claimed responsibility for the blasts.
The ATS, who had taken Sheikh's custody following the revelation, questioned him and later discharged him from the case. Interestingly, Sadiq's version of the plot was also confirmed by Yasin Bhatkal, the chief operational commander of Indian Mujahideen, after his arrest in 2013.
The ATS has said 13 alleged SIMI activists - including Kamal Ansari, Dr Tanvir Ansari, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh, Ethesham Siddiqui, Mohammed Majid Shafi,Shaikh Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh, Mohammed Ansari, Abdul Shaikh, Muzammil Sheikh, Soheil Shaikh, Zameer Shaikh and Naveed Khan and Asif Khan alias Junaid - were in touch with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives in Pakistan and had conducted the blasts.
Officials said that while the prosecution examined 192 witnesses, the defence had examined 51 witnesses and there was one court witness. Eight IPS officials, five IAS officials and eight doctors took the witness stand and over 5,500 pages of evidence were examined in the case.
As per the prosecution, while 15 to 20 kg of RDX were used in the blasts was brought by one operative, the ammonium nitrate added was bought locally.
Five-litre pressure cookers and quartz timers were used in the bombs which were assembled in Chembur and then taken to Churchgate from where they were planted in various trains bound for Borivli and Virar.