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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

13/7 blasts: Trial delayed as ATS yet to arrest 2 accused

The two key accused, currently lodged in a Hyderabad jail, were responsible for conspiring and planting explosives during the 13/7 blasts.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2019 01:40 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai has been waiting to frame charges against the 11 arrested accused named by the ATS in the charge sheet.
The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai has been waiting to frame charges against the 11 arrested accused named by the ATS in the charge sheet. (HT Photo)
         

The trial in the 13/7 serial blasts, which killed 27 people, has been delayed as the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is yet to arrest two key Indian Mujahideen operatives, Tehseen Akhtar and Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas.They were arrested in 2014 for their involvement in the Dilsukhnagar blasts and sentenced to death.

The two key accused, currently lodged in a Hyderabad jail, were responsible for conspiring and planting explosives during the 13/7 blasts.

The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai has been waiting to frame charges against the 11 arrested accused named by the ATS in the charge sheet.

However, the process of framing charges has been delayed owing to the inability to arrest Waqas and Akhtar.

Last week, defence lawyer Sharif Shaikh sought the special court to direct the ATS to bring Akhtar and Waqas to trial before it begins trial against the 11 accused.

“We want the prosecution to bring the accused [Akhtar and Waqas] before the court frames charges. We do not want a situation where we start examining the witnesses and reveal our strategies, which could then prejudice our stance, and would hamper justice,” Shaikh told the court.

The issue was first highlighted on June 26, when the accused’s advocates had moved an application pointing out that Akhtar and Waqas were yet to be arrested in the case. The state in its reply had then said, “All round efforts are being made to pursue and take the custody of the wanted accused”.

Officers from the government, who did not wish to be named, said the agency has been facing issues as the two were awarded death penalty and cannot be moved out of Hyderabad prison. “An alternate plan where the arrest can be made on technical grounds is being mulled,” said a senior government officer, requesting anonymity.

According to the prosecution case, Akhtar is a resident of Bihar and Waqas is a Pakistani national. On July 13, 2011, the two allegedly planted bombs at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar between 6.52 pm and 7.05 pm.

They were arrested in Rajasthan by the Delhi police on March 22, 2014.