28 Charged in India July Train Bombings

The Associated Press
Thursday, November 30, 2006; 4:23 PM

MUMBAI, India -- Formal charges were brought against 28 people for suspected involvement in the July 11 train bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people.

Thirteen of the accused are in police custody and the rest are still at large, said police prosecutor Raja Thackeray.

The 28 were charged with murder, handling explosive substances, committing terrorist acts and causing damage to public property in Mumbai, India's economic and entertainment capital, formerly called Bombay.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Police say the 28 suspects belong to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, or Army of the Pure, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, as well as the Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a banned group based in northern India.

Police also have alleged that Pakistan's Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, was behind the bombings. Pakistan has denied the accusation.

The charge-sheet, running 10,667 pages, said nine of the 15 accused who are at large are Pakistani nationals, according to Naval Bajaj, deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai.

The remaining six are Indians who operate out of Pakistan and Nepal, Bajaj said.

Apart from those charged on Thursday, one suspect known only as "Salim," died in the train bombing in July. Another suspect, Abu Asama, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police in August, Bajaj said.

Prosecutors say more than 2,000 witnesses will be called during the trial.

© 2006 The Associated Press