Twenty four years after the Mumbai serial blasts left 257 people dead in the country's financial capital, a special TADA court today awarded death penalty to two convicts, life terms to two others including extradited gangster Abu Salem and 10 years jail to one accused.
The two who were given capital punishment by Special Judge GA Sanap are Tahir Merchant and Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan. Salem and Karimullah Khan were sentenced for life while the fifth convict in the case Riyaz Siddiqi was sent to jail for 10 years.
The court also slapped varying amounts of fines on the convicts after finding them guilty on various charges, including murder, conspiracy to hatch the blasts, supplying arms and ammunition, and other serious offences.
The court had in June convicted six persons, including mastermind Mustafa Dossa (now dead) and Salem, in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. It, however, let off accused Abdul Quayyum, for want of evidence. This was the second leg of the trial. All the seven accused were facing multiple charges which included criminal conspiracy, waging war against the Government of India and murder.
The court had earlier held that prosecution proved Salem was one of the main conspirators and he delivered three AK-56 rifles and ammunition and hand grenades to actor Sanjay Dutt (convicted in earlier phase of trial under the Arms Act).
Salem, who was close to (Dawood's brother) Anees Ibrahim and Dossa, took upon of himself to bring a part of arms and ammunition from Dighi to Mumbai, the court earlier said. This was "vital towards achievement of the conspiracy so that the weapons could be used to terrorise and torment innocent citizens of India," the court had said.
The trial of Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum was separated from the main case as they were arrested subsequently.
Dossa died of cardiac arrest at JJ Hospital in Mumbai, shortly after being convicted, on June 28.
1993 Mumbai Blasts Case: Convicts have been given sentences for different offences, all punishments will run concurrently.— ANI (@ANI) September 7, 2017
The much-awaited verdict on the quantum of sentencing came 24 years after the March 12, 1993 serial blasts and nearly 80 days after they were found guilty (on June 16) by the Special Court.
On a quiet afternoon of March 12, 1993, the country's commercial capital was shattered by a series of 13 blasts in quick succession at various locations in the city and suburbs, creating the worst unprecedented mayhem in the country, killing 257 and injuring 700 others. The prime targets included the Air India Building, Bombay Stock Exchange, Zaveri Bazar, then existing five star hotels, Hotel SeaRock and Hotel Juhu Centaur, and others leading to damage to public and private properties worth Rs 27 crore.