A special POTA court on Friday recorded the statements of three witnesses who were examined by key accused and bomb planter Muzammil Ansari, convicted for multiple blasts in the city during 2002 and 2003.
The court had allowed Ansari's plea to examine Afroz Khan, an accused in another terror case, Uday Pathak, a murder accused, and his brother Imtiyaz Rahim. The court, which convicted 10 out of 13 accused on March 29 in the blasts case, is hearing arguments on quantum of sentence.
The Mulund train blasts had occurred on March 13, 2003 killing 12 persons and injuring 71. On December 6, 2002, several persons were injured in the blast at the McDonald's at Mumbai Central station while a person died when a bomb attached to a cycle exploded in a market area in Vile Parle (East) on January 27, 2003.
Muzammil's brother Rahim told the court that the former was the eldest in the house and helped all his siblings. "Muzammil was so good in studies that he secured a scholarship and his fees were waived", Rahim deposed.
Rahim also told the court that after their father's sickness, the family's financial condition was very bad and at that time Muzammil contributed financially and also took care of his siblings' education. He further said that after Muzammil's arrest, the family looked for him for many days (as they were not aware that he is arrested).
Rahim also said that whenever the family visited Muzammil in court or jail they always felt that he was innocent and would come out sooner or later. Rahim also told the court that he has noticed that for the past two years Muzammil has become increasingly irritable and his behavior had become erratic. He added that Muzammil did not understand things when told for the first time.
"If he is given maximum sentence, the parents will die upon hearing about it", Rahim told the court. While another terror case accused Afroze Khan told the court that he had met Muzammil in Thane jail in 2008. Khan added that when he was suffering from tuberculosis, Muzammil took good care of him.
Afroze also told the court that in 2009 he came to Arthur Road Jail and in 2014, Muzammil came there. "In both the jails, Muzammil used to help inmates in writing applications, he made a lot of fellow inmates to take admission in IGNOU centre in Arthur Road jail," Afroze said, adding that Muzammil encouraged him to appear for Mahatma Gandhi Peace exam which he topped.
Afroze said that in Arthur Road Jail, Muzammil is kept in 'Anda cell' where there is no sunlight or fresh air. "In Thane, Muzammil was healthy and had lot of hope (about the case) but in Arthur road jail Muzammil was depressed," Afroze told the court.
Murder accused Phatak told the court that Muzammil used to help a lot of inmates in education. "Muzammil advised me to pray and gave me a copy of 'Hanuman Chalisa'," Phatak said.
Phatak also said that whatever Muzammil used to purchase from jail canteen he used to share with others. "Muzammil used to tell other inmates to behave properly so that they can be released early," Phatak told the court. He said that when Muzammil was shifted to Arthur Road jail and once he met him, he asked Muzammil if he recognises him. "Muzammil could not remember at first but later recollected," Phatak said.
Phatak also said that condition in the high security cell in Arthur Road jail is so harsh that even a normal person will suffer psychological disorder. "It is enclosed from all sides with grill on one end and three-four persons are dumped inside though it's meant for one inmate," Phatak told the court.
Meanwhile, the court also allowed the application filed for him to undergo psychological and IQ assessment tests and directed the JJ hospital authorities to submit the report latest by Monday.
The court will resume hearing the arguments on quantum of sentence on Monday.