Confessional statements by seven accused, forensic evidence on arms and ammunition seized from the accused and other spots, along with circumstantial evidence, helped the prosecution nail the case against the accused in the 2002-2003 triple blasts case that left 12 dead and 139 injured.
The prosecution had confessions from Noor Mohmad Abdul Malik Ansari alias Sikander, Anwar Ali Javed Ali Khan, Mohmad Sayyed Sadique Turab Ali (who died before the trial started), Muzzamil Aktar Abdul Rahim Ansari, Mohmad Kamil Mohmad Jamil Shaikh alias Abbas, Gulam Akbar Abdul Sattar Khotal and Dr Abdul Wahid Ansari. Moreover, Noor had given away the details of the terror activities in the pipeline and involvement of other groups. In his confession, Noor revealed the entire plot and gave a detailed account of where and how the training was conducted, where the accused met and what was discussed in those meetings.
“There was hardly any direct evidence against any of the accused. It was a web and we had to connect the dots,” said special public prosecutor Rohini Salian.
In his statement, a copy of which is with HT, Noor said he met Riyaz Bhatkal in 1999. He said Bhatkal had, in 2000,asked him to return to Mumbai, as he had to be sent to Pakistan for training. Noor said he was from Kolkata to Bangladesh to Pakistan in November 2000.
He revealed Saquib and another convicted accused Dr Anwar Ali Javed Ali planned to kill several Hindu leaders. He said they used to meet at a house at Mumbra.
“In 2002, Saquib Nachan made a plan to train youngsters who were prepared for jihad. As I had completed my training in Pakistan under the ISI, I was asked to train the youth,” Noor said in his confession.
Another important confession was of Dr Wahid Ansari, who was accused of making the bombs used in the blast. Wahid, in his confession, a copy of which is with HT, explained how the bombs were made and where they were going to be used. Muzzamil gave details of how and when he planted bombs.
“With the confessions, too, there were some restrictions. A verdict in the Parliament terror attack case said the confessions recorded under POTA cannot be used against other accused. Here, the forensic evidence came to our aid,” Salian said.
Salian said one of the arrested accused led the police team to the spot on the hill where training camps were held. “It was in the interior. We found empty cartridges at the spot. These cartridges matched with the guns (AK-56 and other small weapons) recovered from accused Nachan, Ateef Mulla and Hasib Mulla,” Salian said.
He said several groups from Padgha, Malegaon, Kalyan and Kurla were involved in the blasts. “There is no direct connection between these groups, but there are indirect links in the supply of weapons. It was established through the forensic report,” Salian said.