Trial against Haj House Imam to begin tomorrow

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Mumbai, Jun 15 (UNI) The trial against Maulana Gulam Yahya, the Imam of the Haj House mosque at Crawford market in South Mumbai and one of the dismissed employees of Haj Committee of India, will commence tomorrow for his alleged involvement in harbouring three suspected Kashmiri militants before the 7/11 serial train bomb blasts in 2006.

The charges against him were framed recently before Additional Sessions Judge S D Agarwal of the fast track court, who fixed June 16 as the date for the commencement of the trial.

While speaking to UNI, Advocate Waris Pathan, one the lawyers representing Yahya, said as per the procedure under section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc), on the first day of the trial, prosecution will submit a list of the documents and after the arguments, the trial will commence.

Yahya (46), who is at present languishing in Arthur Road Jail, was arrested on January 13, 2006, on the charge of harbouring three militants from Jammu and Kashmir having alleged links with Lashkar-Toiba outfit. He is facing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and under the Prevention of Unlawful Activites Act. He, however, has denied all charges framed against him and has pleaded not guilty.

This case preceded the serial train blasts that took place on July 11, 2006, when suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists planted bombs in the first class compartments of seven suburban trains on the Western Railway line.

The Anti-Terrorist Squad, in their chargesheet, has alleged that the Imam was a link between Salauddin, the Lashkar commander in Kashmir, and the three alleged militants -- Mohammed Ramzan Abdul Wahab Haji, Kurshid Ahmed Abdul Gani Lone and Arshad Hussain Badru Hussain. The ATS had seized detonators, timers and electronic devices from the three Kashmiris, says the chargesheet.

While the three suspected militants have been sent to Kashmir, where they are facing preventive detention charges, Yahya was also given in the custody of Kashmir Police. He was, however, later discharged by a local court in Kashmir for lack of evidence and was brought to Mumbai to face the trial.

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