17 years after 7/11 train blasts, Bombay HC yet to commence hearing on confirmation of death penalty given to 5 convicts

PTI, Jul 11, 2023, 11:23 AM IST

Image source: PTI / File

Mumbai: Seventeen years since a string of powerful bombs ripped through Mumbai’s commuter trains system in the evening rush hour on July 11, the Bombay High Court is yet to commence hearing on the confirmation of the death penalty given to five convicts in the case.

On July 11, 2006, seven blasts were reported from different locations on the Western line of the city’s local trains within a span of 15 minutes, killing more than 180 people and injuring several others.

The first bomb went off shortly after 6:20 pm in a train plying from Churchgate to Borivali. The bomb exploded when the train was between the Khar and Santacruz stations.

Another bomb exploded at around the same time in a local train between Bandra and Khar. Subsequently, five more explosions were reported from Jogeshwari, Mahim, Mira Road-Bhayandar, Matunga-Mahim and Borivali.

Between 2006 and 2008, the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra arrested 13 alleged members of the Indian Mujahideen terror outfit in connection with the case.

In September 2015, the trial court convicted 12 of the accused, imposed the death penalty on five of them and sentenced the seven others to life imprisonment. One of the accused was acquitted.

The state government then filed an appeal in the high court seeking confirmation of the death penalty. A death sentence awarded by the trial court has to be confirmed by the high court.

The convicts too filed appeals challenging their conviction and sentences.

However, since 2015, the pleas are yet to be taken up for hearing by the high court.

Since then, the appeals have come up for hearing before nine different benches.

In November 2022, Justices A S Gadkari and P D Naik recused themselves from hearing the matter. Since then, the matter has not been listed before another bench.

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