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Mazgaon taxi blast was powerful, say 26/11 witnesses

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 07, 2009 21:36 IST
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Two eye witnesses in the 26/11 terror attacks case testified before the court on Monday, saying they saw a powerful car bomb exploding at Mazgaon in central Mumbai, killing three persons. The taxi driver and two occupants, Zarina and Rima, died in the blast while 19 others including one of the witnesses Abdul Salim Shaikh were injured, they told the court.

The prosecution's case is that after arriving at Mumbai coast from Karachi, slain terrorists Abu Shoaib and Abu Umer hired a cab to reach the targets of attack, Cafe Leopold and Hotel Taj. Mid-way, they planted a bomb below the driver's seat which exploded severing the head of the driver. Shaikh, a cook by profession. Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that the occupants of the taxi, Zarina and Rima, were his neighbours and they were getting down from the vehicle when the bomb exploded. He said that the explosion in the taxi was so powerful that the vehicle was thrown up in the air and its parts were flung in different directions. Shaikh said the blast occurred near his house and he sustained injuries in head, leg and back. The roof of his house blew up and his television set was damaged causing him a loss of Rs 60,000. The asbestos sheet on the roof was blown to pieces and some of them pierced in his head, the witness said, adding that he was scheduled to be operated on Tuesday. Earlier, he had spent one month in a government hospital for treatment. 

Another witness Mohammed Kirmat Shaikh said the deceased
Zarina was his mother-in-law and Rima was his wife. The duo were to go Dockyard Road and he saw them off in a taxi at Mussafirkhana. After riding a little distance in the taxi the blast occurred and Zarina died on the spot while Rima succumbed to her injuries in a hospital the next day, he said.

Earlier, an explosive expert Sandeep Shetty told the court that samples collected from terror attack sites at Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus and Vile Parle contained traces of RDX. In another development, the court allowed prosecution to examine on September 14 the three witnesses from India TV channel which got a call from the terrorists during the attack at Nariman House and Hotel Taj about their demands.

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