Bhatkal and Shaikh had insisted that they be produced before the Mumbai court for the procedure of framing of charges.
Ten years after the terrifying 2011 Mumbai triple blasts, a special court has framed charges against top Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal for his alleged involvement in the case. The court has also framed charges against Ajaz Saeed Shaikh.
The charges include offences like murder, criminal conspiracy, relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Both Bhatkal and Shaikh are lodged in Tihar jail and have pleaded not guilty. They were sentenced to death by an NIA court in the 2013 Hyderabad blasts case.
Bhatkal and Shaikh had insisted that they be produced before the Mumbai court for the procedure of framing of charges. However, the court had rejected Shaikh’s plea last month saying that a general order passed by the state government under Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code empowered it to not bring him to the court as Shaikh is a convict facing a death sentence.
Bhatkal also insisted on being produced but the court said that he had been given utmost opportunities. The court said that Bhatkal has been connected several times through video-conferencing to give him a fair trial. “On account of his earlier successive refusals to hear charges, I would have proceeded further. I also instructed him that due to such behaviour of the accused persons, the trial is not proceeding at its required pace,” said the court. After being reprimanded by the court, Bhatkal agreed for charges to be framed over video conferencing.
The triple blasts that occurred in 2011 at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and near Dadar railway station had left 27 people dead and over 127 injured. The trial is yet to begin in the case.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has claimed that Bhatkal hatched the conspiracy and assembled the bombs at a rented room in Byculla.