A special TADA court today convicted six out of seven accused in 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed 257 people, 713 seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore. Those convicted by the court included extradited gangster Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui and Tahir Merchant. Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, was charged with supplying the arms and ammunition, including the deadly RDX, which were used in the blasts. Mustafa Dossa, on the other hand, was convicted under section IPC 302 and IPC 307 and he was found guilty of taking part in the blasts conspiracy meetings held in India and Dubai before the terror strike was carried out at 12 targets in Mumbai. He is also found guilty of arranging for the arms and ammunition for the blasts with his brother Mohammed Dossa and making travel arrangements for some of the persons involved to meet absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.Tahir Merchant was convicted under section IPC 120 B, IPC 302, IPC 307, IPC 324, IPC 326, IPC 201, IPC 212, Arms act, Explosive Act, 3 (3) TADA Act.
Another accused Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan was convicted under section IPC 120 B, IPC 302, IPC 307, IPC 324, IPC 326, IPC 201, IPC 212, Arms Act, Explosive Act, 3 (3) TADA Act. The dastardly attacks left 257 people dead, 713 seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore.
The trail of these seven accused was separated from the main case as they were arrested when the main trial was coming to an end. In the main trial that ended in 2007, the anti-terrorism court had convicted 100 people, and let off 23. At least 257 people were killed and 713 were injured in the attacks.
Abu Salem, who was arrested in Portugal in 2002, was accused of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai. He also gave an AK-56 rifle and other weapons to actor Sanjay Dutt on January 16, 1993.
The court had dropped certain charges against Abu Salem in 2013 after the Central Bureau of Investigation said those charges were against the extradition treaty between India and Portugal.
Mustafa Dossa allegedly masterminded the import of explosives in India and sent some men to Pakistan for arms training.
The court recorded the statements of 750 prosecution witnesses and 50 witnesses.
Three accused including Salem confessed to their crime during investigations carried out by the CBI over the years in the blasts case.
Though the hearing in the case began in 2007, it was delayed as three petitions were pending with the Supreme Court, one each filed by Dossa and Salem, and another by the CBI.
The trial resumed in 2012 and ended this March.
The case involving the seven accused was first heard by judge Pramod Kode, who had also delivered the judgement in the main trial. Later, judge DU Mullah presided over the anti-terrorism court, and the case is now being heard by judge GA Sanap.
It was during the trial in 2013 that the Supreme Court pronounced a judgement on appeal filed by all the accused wherein key conspirator Yakub Memon’s death sentence was confirmed, while that of others (all bomb planters) were commuted to life imprisonment.
Sanjay Dutt and many others surrendered before the TADA court here in May 2013 after the apex court upheld their conviction.
Yakub Memon was executed on July 30, 2015 after his several pleas seeking clemency were rejected, including the post-midnight hearing by Supreme Court on the day he was hanged.
On March 12, 1993 the country’s commercial capital witnessed an unprecedented terrorist attack when a series 12 bomb explosions took place one after another in about a span of two hours.
The blasts took place at Bombay Stock Exchange, Katha Bazaar, Lucky petrol pump near Sena Bhavan, opposite Passport office near Century Bazaar, Fishermen’s colony at Mahim Causeway, at basement of Air India Building, Zaveri Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, Plaza Theatre, Centaur Hotel (Juhu), Sahar Airport (Bay no.54) and Centaur Hotel (near airport).
This was the first ever terrorist attack in the world where RDX (Research Department Explosive i.e cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) was used on such a large scale after the Second World War.
According to the prosecution, in order to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid, members of the crime syndicate under the fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim along with other absconding accused Tiger Memon, Mohammed Dossa and Mustafa Dossa (who is presently facing trial) hatched a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in India.
The prosecution said that the object of the crime was to commit terrorist acts with an intent to overawe the Government of India, to strike terror on the people, alienate section of the people and to harm the communal harmony.
It said that the conspirators smuggled fire-arms, ammunitions, detonators, hand grenades and highly explosive substances like RDX into India and stored it.
According to the prosecution, Mustafa Dossa, Tiger Memon and Chhota Shakeel organised training camps in Pakistan and in India to impart and undergo weapon and arms training and handling of explosives. They also sent men from India to Pakistan via Dubai for arms training.
The prosecution also said that the conspirators held 15 meetings before the execution of the blasts.
(With PTI inputs)