Mumbai, Sept 11:The verdict in the 2006 serial train bombing case of Mumbai has come as a closure to many. While the victim's families demand the strongest punishment for the 12 persons convicted in the case, let us also spare a thought for those investigators who cracked this case.
The most important aspect of this probe was that the investigators had to start from scratch as there were no vital clues on that horrific evening when the bombs ripped through those trains.
The job for the Maharashtra ATS (Anti-terror Squad) was not easy by any means.
It was no ordinary terror attack. The lifeline of the city, the local trains had been attacked and the death toll had touched 187.
To start with there was not a single bomb that had not exploded. Normally in any blast case, the lead is always an un-exploded bomb, but in this case there were none.
A long road to the final conviction:
On that fateful evening, it was raining heavily. The rescue operations were extremely difficult in the wake of the incessant rains.
The phones lines at the control rooms were jammed and the desperate relatives of those on the trains were trying to gather every little bit of information.
The Maharashtra ATS was headed by KP Raghvanshi for whom this case was a huge challenge.
Evidence does tend to get washed away in the rains. Moreover, in an attack of such a magnitude, rescue operations have to be conducted first.
The job of the investigating agency has to be done simultaneously. While on one hand the rescue work was taking place on the other investigators wanted to ensure that crucial evidence was not lost.
To begin with in any probe concerning a bomb blast, the investigators look for an un-exploded bomb. However, in this case there were none.
The make, the timer and also the other material used in the bomb act as vital leads for any investigator. However, in the absence of un-exploded bombs, investigators had to source clues from the blasted material.
However, the investigators gradually began to collect evidence from the ground after the panic had subsided.
The next challenge was to track the culprits and also crack the conspiracy angle in the case. It was quote evident that the plot was hatched in Pakistan.
To add to this there was also the local angle coming up which pointed a finger towards the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
As the probe progressed it became increasingly clear that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's intelligence chief, Azam Cheema was the mastermind and he had sent in three persons into India to specifically carry out the attack along with others.
The investigations also led the cops to a phone booth from where 19 calls had been made.
A public phone booth outside the Fauziya Nursing Home in Nagpada had become a call centre for the terrorists. There were 19 calls that were made in the run up to the blasts.
These documents were submitted to the court during the course of the arguments.
There have been several conspiracy theories attached to the 13/7 attacks.
One of the conspiracy theories was put forth by Yasin Bhatkal of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) who said that this was done to avenge the Gujarat riots.
However, this was never proven. Pakistan has often targeted the city of Mumbai solely because it is the commercial capital of India.
The role of the convicted:
The chargesheet of the ATS lists out the role of the persons who were convicted today by the Special MCOCA court.
Faisal Shaikh: Worked for Azam Cheema, the mastermind. He trained in Pakistan and even sent his brother Muzzamil and Tanvir to train
Ansari, Sohail Shaikh: Received hawala money from absconding accused, Rizwan Dhaware for the exeucution of the blasts.
Razak: Conspiracy meetings were held at his Bandra residence and also helped in assembling the bombs. He planted the bomb at Jogeshwari station.
Asif Khan alias Junaid, key conspirator: Housed Pakistani terrorists at his Mira Road residence. Procured rexine bags, utensils, ammonium nitrate, detonators and also assembled bombs. Planted bomb at Borivali station.
Mohammed Ali: Bombs were assembled in his house.
Majid Mohammed Shafi: Helped Pakistani terrorists Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali, Abu Hasan cross into India through Indo-Bangladesh border.
Sajid Margub Ansari: Procured timer electric circuitry and other devices for 7/11. Housed Pakistani terrorists Aslam and Haifzulla
Kamal Ansari: Helped Pakistani terrorists Aslam and Hafizullah cross into India through Indo-Nepal border
Ehteshaam Siddiqui: Harboured Pakistani terrorists Ammu Jan, Sabir, Abu Bakr, Kasam Ali and Abu Hasan at Mumbra.
Shaikh: Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts and planted the at Mira Road station.
Zameer Shaikh: Surveyed local trains.
Muzammil Shaikh: Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts
Sohail Shaikh: Surveyed local trains to plan the blasts
Dr Tanvir Ansari: Helped in assembling bombs.
Naveed Hussain: Planted the bomb which exploded at Bandra station.