Mumbai: Six years after the twin blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar, which left 53 people dead, a Mumbai Special Court is expected to deliver its judgement on the "rarest of rare" case on Monday.
A terror module of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit was allegedly involved in planting the powerful bombs in two cabs and triggering them by timers on August 25, 2003.
It is the most awaited judgement in a terrorist case after the Special TADA Court completed the March 2, 1993, serial blasts trial in 2007 which led to the conviction of 100 people, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, now a Samajwadi Party leader.
The court will also pronounce the verdict in the Ghatkopar railway station bomb blast case of July 2003 and the case of a bomb planted in a BEST bus in Andheri East in December 2002 that failed to detonate.
History of the case
Soon after the twin blasts, Mumbai police arrested six people including one woman
The accused were Mohammed Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimida, Ashrat Shafique Ansari, Zahid Yusuf Patni, Rizwan Laddoowala and A Shaikh Batterywala.
Sayed's daughter Farheen was also arrested but was then let off almost immediately by the POTA court for lack of evidence
The chargesheet filed on February 5, 2004 accuses them of conspiring with the Lashkar-e-Toiba to carry out terror strikes in the country
Police found that the conspiracy was hatched in Dubai and the motive was allegedly to avenge the 2002 Gujarat riots
One of the accused, Zahid Yusuf Patni turned approver in June 2004 and confessed to his role in the attacks.
He revealed how he lived and worked in Dubai where he met Hanif, who had gone there to work as an electrician. There they met some other persons who provoked them "to take revenge for the Gujarat riots of 2002".
After hatching the blasts conspiracy in Dubai, they prepared themselves for the assignment with all the required resources and finally carried out the terror strikes in Mumbai.
In 2008 Laddoowala and Batterywala were let off for lack of evidence. The matter was challenged before the Supreme Court which finally ordered their discharge in November 2008, proving a setback to the prosecution case, spearheaded by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
A total of 103 witnesses were examined, prime among them a taxi driver whose vehicle was used to plant the bomb.
Three Special POTA Judges conducted the trial - A.P. Bhangale, S.S. Joshi and currently, Special Judge Puranik.
The verdict will now be pronounced on three remaining accused - Sayed, Fahimida and Ansari.
If found guilty, they could each face death penalty.