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14 years on, Mumbai blasts trial goes on
March 13, 2007 00:21 IST
On the fourteenth anniversary of Mumbai serial blasts, which killed 257 persons, the special court on Monday adjourned for a day the hearing of a plea by 69 convicts demanding that TADA charges against them be set aside.
The convicts, virtually seeking a retrial, demand that like actor Sanjay Dutt, they too be discharged under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and tried under the Arms Act.
Their lawyer Mushtaq Ahmed could not complete his arguments. The TADA court has convicted 100 of the initial 123 accused, and now the pronouncement of sentence is awaited.
But the special judge, Pramod Kode, has not declared the date of pronouncement of sentences as yet, despite special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam's repeated queries in this regard.
But there are still a couple of more applications, moved by different groups of the convicts, seeking retrial and quashing of TADA charges.
The judge made it clear that he will announce the date of sentencing only after all these applications are disposed of.
Nikam, talking to the reporters outside the court today, blamed the accused for the delay in conclusion of the trial.
Even the present application was a delaying tactic, the public prosecutor said, "And from the very beginning, plethora of applications by the accused for one or the other reason caused the trial to drag on," Nikam alleged.Earlier, Ahmed contended that some of the accused convicted for possessing arms among other things, too needed weapons for self-defence, even more than actor Dutt, in the wake of post-Babri communal riots.