Opening its arguments for the quantum of sentence in the 11/7 train blasts case, yesterday the prosecution said it might not seek the death penalty for all 12 convicts, and would seek to classify which of them deserved capital punishment.
The prosecution began after its arguments for sentencing after the conclusion of the defence’s arguments for the minimum sentence, which is a life term in this case. The defence had notably called 13/7 blasts accused Nadeem Akhtar, as well as activist Arun Ferreira — who was earlier held for alleged Maoist links — to vouch for the convicts.
During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Raja Thakare mentioned that the case qualified as the rarest of the rare cases and told the Special MCOCA court, “The fact is that some of the offences are so outrageous that society insists for adequate punishment because the doers deserve it, irrespective of whether the punishment serves as a deterrent or not.”
He argued that where the gravity of the offence and the principle of equality were concerned, all of the convicts should get the death penalty, but added, “However, I am not the kind of person to pray for death for all. I will endeavour to classify who should not be considered for anything less than the death penalty.
This offence is not against an individual and was not carried out under personal enmity; this offence is against the entire state, to strike terror into the community and disturb its even tempo, causing breach of public order. This act was motivated by the object of promoting insurgency.”
He presented the details of the blasts, pointing out how powerful and well-planned they were. “In the commission of offence, special category RDX was used, which is capable of mass destruction. It is the special feature of this crime that 188 people lost their lives and 825 suffered serious injuries.
This is not the case of a single isolated incident, but systematic planning of seven powerful bombs in a diabolical manner, set in extreme preparation, which exploded in short span of five minutes, creating utter chaos,” he told the court.
He further attempted to persuade the court that the accused knew what they were doing. “If you have heard the accused and the background they gave for themselves, it is apparent that they were otherwise settled in their lives and occupations.
None of themclaimed to be dragged in forcibly or for monetary reasons. In fact, most of the accused are very well-educated. At least, they are mature and know what is right and wrong,” said Thakare.
He added, “Even if we consider the period of conspiracy, it becomes apparent how determined the accused were to cause the disaster without caring for the life and limb of innocent victims.”
'Convicts were arrows, Cheema was archer'
Defence advocate Yug Chaudhry once again asked for minimum sentence for the convicts, saying they had only followed the instructions of the mastermind Azam Cheema, who is still absconding.
“Azam Cheema was the archer in this case, the accused here are just the arrows,” he told the court. He also cited the convicts’ remorse and cooperation as mitigating circumstances.
“The confessions of the accused are a sign that they felt remorse for their actions. They even cooperated with the investigation.”