Nearly four years after the 7/11 serial train blasts, the trial in the case is all set to resume on Monday in a special court in Mumbai against 13 arrested accused, alleged to be members of the banned terror outfit Students Islamic Movement of India. The Supreme Court had in February 2008 stayed the trial after one of the accused, Kamal Ansari, approached the court challenging the constitutional validity of a particular section pertaining to insurgency in the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
On April 25, the apex court dismissed the petition and vacated the stay on the trial.
"All the 13 accused would be produced before the special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde tomorrow. The court would ask if they have appointed any lawyers to defend them after which summons to witnesses would be issued," said Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare.
The first witness in the case, a police sub-inspector, had deposed before a special MCOCA court after which the accused had approached the SC. The accused had earlier refused to appoint lawyers, demanding that the case be transferred to a regular court, and not be tried at the special MCOCA court.
The 13 accused have now approached the Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind, which has contacted several criminal lawyers to defend these suspects.
In the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai on July 11, 2006, 187 people were killed and over 800 injured.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad, in its 10,000 page charges-sheet in the case, stated that the accused were helped by terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba to carry out the blasts. The 13 arrested accused are -- Faisal Shaikh, Ali Bashir Khan, Mohammad Ali, Majid Shafi, Sajid Ansari, Kamal Ansari, Ethesham Siddiqui, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh, Muzammil Shaikh, Tanvir Ansari, Naveed Hussai and Abdul Shaikh.
The ATS had named 15 people as wanted accused in the case, which included LeT's commander-in-chief Azam Cheema.