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7/11 prosecutor: Court stay didn't help accused

A Ganesh Nadar in Mumbai | July 11, 2008 15:47 IST

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Avadut Chimalkar, part of the Central Bureau of Investigation's team of lawyers prosecuting the accused in the 7/11 blasts, feels the Supreme Court stay on the trial proceedings, instead of benefiting the accused, has made it worse for them.

"Staying the case has not helped the defence. The accused are languishing in jail and the court's stay order has only increased their incarceration. If we had asked for a stay the court would have refused. Because it was the defence that asked for it, the court stayed the matter," Chimalkar said

7/11: Two years on

The defence lawyers had first approached the Bombay high court with their plea that the 7/11 trial should be held under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and not under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. The high court had dismissed their plea. They then moved the Supreme Court which stayed the proceedings.

"They are objecting to MCOCA being used against them for planning an insurgency. The UAPA was used against them for being members of a terrorist group," Chimalkar said.

The Supreme Court, which stayed all hearings in the Mumbai serial train blasts case, will once again begin hearings in the case on July 15.

"There were three special leave petitions filed by the accused. One is involved in the 7/11 blasts, another in the Aurangabad arms haul case and the third in the Malegaon blasts, and the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings in this case," Chimalkar said. The case was being heard at the MCOCA court in Mumbai. The first witness had been examined, when the proceedings were stayed.

7/11 defence lawyer: My clients will be released

Though the defence counsel say none of their clients had actually planted the bombs, the prosecution differs. "Six of the accused have planted the bombs. The seventh was the Pakistani who died in the blasts," Chimalkar said.

The other accused have been charged with assisting them. One allowed his house to be used for assembling the bombs and another harboured the terrorists, the prosecution contends.

"We have the car which was used to transport the bombs, it had traces of explosives in it. The house used to assemble the bombs had traces of the explosives in it. We have hard evidence and forensic support," Chimalkar said.

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