Putting the pieces of a terror strike's jigsaw together and finding the culprits behind the attack is a difficult task. Bringing the accused to justice is another story altogether. Vicky Nanjappa reports
Investigation into terror cases requires the coordination of the police teams from various states and this delays the process of filing a charge-sheet. The wait for the trial to commence is a rather long one.
"There is a long waiting list before the sessions court which is handling cases of terrorism. We cannot seek an early hearing as each case is usually a high-priority one," an official of the Anti-Terrorism Squad told rediff.com.
The court that will try the 13/7 case is also dealing with the 2006 train serial blasts case. The probe into the 13/7 blasts case as well as the filing of applications and counter pleas took a long time. The case has finally reached the courts and it is being heard on a day-to-day basis. It may take a couple of months for this long pending trial to get over.
After the serial train blasts case, the court is scheduled to hear the Aurangabad arms haul case. Although the prosecution is ready, it is likely to get further delayed as the arrest of Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abu Jundal may reveal some new angles.
The prosecution wants to add Jundal's revelations to its case and may have to introduce new testimonies and evidence. The ATS, which is probing this case, is still waiting for a chance to interrogate Jundal. The agency will have to seek his custody or request the home ministry for access to Jundal.
The Aurangabad arms haul case would take another year to be completed.
The trial in the 13/7 blasts case will take over a year to get underway. This will give the ATS some time to gather more information on the case and make it a water-tight one. But the road to justice for the victims of the 13/7 blasts will remain a long one.
According to legal experts, since all the pending cases deal with terror, there is no question of prioritising a particular case. If any of the parties want the case to be taken up on a priority basis, they would have to file an application before the Supreme Court seeking early disposal
They add that since the other cases have been pending for nearly half a decade, it was unlikely that the apex court would grant early trial for the 13/7 case. They believe that the fastest way to dispose of cases is to designate special courts for each of them so that the trials can take place simultaneously.