A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court on Wednesday sentenced bomb planter Muzammil Ansari to life imprisonment and alleged SIMI operative Saquib Nachan to 10 years of imprisonment in the triple blasts case that took place in Mumbai between December 2002 and March 2003. Farhan Malik Khot and Dr Wahid Abdul Ansari were also sentenced to life imprisonment.

Muzammil Ansari. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Ten persons were convicted by the court on March 29. Three other accused were acquitted in the case. Three bombs had gone off in a McDonald’s outlet inside the Mumbai Central railway station, Vile Parle East, and a Karjat-bound local train at the Mulund railway station, respectively.

Delivering judgment in the 13-year-old case, judge PR Deshmukh convicted alleged SIMI operative Saquib Nachan, Ateef Nasir Mulla and Hasib Zubier Mulla under relevant sections of POTA and the Arms Act; Mohmmed Kamil Shaikh, Noor Mohammad Abdul Malik and Anwar Ali Javed Ali Khan under the Arms Act; Gulam Akbar Abdul Sattar Khotal, Farhan Malik Khot and Dr Wahid Abdul Ansari under POTA, Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act; and Muzammil Akhtar Ansari under POTA, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act, Indian Penal Code, Indian Railways Act and Prevention of Damage to Property Act. Three others — Nadeem Polaba, Haroon Rashid Lohar and Adnan Mulla.

According to the prosecution, Muzammil and Taher alias Nisar Ahmed Ansari alias Janab Yousuf Shaikh — who is still absconding — planted the bomb at the McDonald’s outlet on December 6, 2002, injuring 25 persons. On January 27, 2003, the two also planted a bomb on a bicycle opposite the Jawahar book depot on Monghibai Road at Vile Parle, killing one woman and injuring 32 persons. They planed a third in a general and a first-class compartment in a Karjat-bound train on March 13, 2003, which exploded at Mulund station, killing 11 and injuring 82. The investigation into the blasts joined the dots and found that all three had been carried out by one group.