Centre, states’ views sought on special terrorism courts

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday sought the views of the central and five state governments on setting up a special court in each of the five states to try over 150 suspected terrorists for their alleged role in the 2008 serial bombings in these states.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan issued notices to the union government and the Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments on a joint lawsuit by nine suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists, accused of triggering serial blasts in five state capitals in 2008.

While issuing notices on setting up special courts, the bench, however, rejected their original plea to club and shift all the cases against all the accused to Delhi to ensure speedy trial.

The suspected IM members, now lodged in Sabarmati central jail in Gujarat, have approached the apex court for a common trial of all 150 accused at one place, preferably in Delhi, contending that they are entitled to speedy trial.

They contended that their names figure in as many as 52 criminal cases lodged against them at Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for the 2008 serial blasts, which left scores of people dead and injured.

The nine contended in their lawsuit that they have been languishing in Sabarmati jail for the last eighteen months while the various state police are yet to complete the probe into the serial blasts and file charge sheets.

The petitioners said that it may not be possible for the prosecuting agencies of different states to complete trials during the lifetime of the accused.

The IM suspects, who filed the petitions are Zia-ur-Rehman, Mohd Shakeel, Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Saqib Nisar, Mohd Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy, Mubin Kadar Shaikh, Asif Bashiruddin Shaikh and Mohd Akbar Ismail Chaudhary, all arrested in 2008 from various places for allegedly triggering serial blasts at Hydrabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.

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