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Terror suspects move SC for speedy trial

February 14, 2010 11:42 IST

Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists, accused of triggering serial blasts in five state capitals in 2008, have approached the Supreme Court for clubbing and shifting of the cases to the national capital to ensure speedy trial.

Nine of them, now lodged in central jail at Sabarmati in Gujarat, filed the petition on the ground that their constitutional right to speedy trial was being compromised.

As many as 52 FIRs were lodged against them at Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for the serial blasts that had rocked respective capitals in 2008, leaving scores of people dead and injured.

"What to say about speedy trial of petitioners -- accused persons, though a period of about more than 18 months have passed, in most of the cases the chargesheets are yet to be filed," the petition, filed through advocate M S Khan, said.

The petition, which is likely to be listed for hearing on February 22, alleged that it may not be possible for the prosecuting agencies of different states to complete trials during the lifetime of the accused.

Filing of the petition assumed significance in the backdrop of statements of political leaders seeking fast-tracking of trials in the serial blasts cases.

IM suspects, Zia-Ur-Rehman, Mohd. Shakeel, Mohd. Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Saqib Nisar, Mohd. Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy, Mubin Kadar Shaikh, Asif Bashirudding Shaikh and Mohd. Akbar Ismail Chaudhary, have together filed the petition.

They have sought direction to Centre and governments of Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh that the blasts cases either be clubbed or be tried at one place like Delhi.

The accused were arrested in 2008 from various places for allegedly triggering serial blasts at Hydrabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.

"The probe agencies of different states made them soft targets and involved them in all serial bomb blast cases to avoid serious and meaningful investigation and apprehending the real culprits," the petition said.

About 150 other accused are also to be tried along with the IM suspects, it said.

Separate trials at different places may involve various difficulties such as security of witnesses and accused and number of judges, it said.

"By the petition, petitioners are intending to enforce their right of speedy trial as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution, as there is no possibility that trial in all cases would be concluded in near future," it said.

Maximum 36 FIRs were lodged against them in Gujarat, while eight and seven cases respectively were lodged in Jaipur and Delhi. One FIR was lodged against IM suspects in Mumbai.

If clubbing and shifting of cases were not possible, then a direction be given to the Centre and others to use "latest technology like submitting chargesheets on CDs and DVDs and holding video conferencing," to avoid lengthy procedures, the petition said.