Free Press Journal

Court concludes hearing on sentences in ’93 Mumbai blasts case


Mumbai: The special court for Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) today concluded hearing on the punishment to be awarded to five persons including Abu Salem in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. Judge G A Sanap convicted Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui and Tahir Merchant for their roles in the blasts conspiracy on June 16, 2017. Another accused, Abdul Kayuum, was acquitted.

“The court is likely to fix the date for pronouncement of sentence on August 22,” special prosecutor Deepak Salvi said. During the arguments on sentences, prosecution demanded death for Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Khan and Tahir Merchant, and life sentence for Siddiqui. Dossa, one of the masterminds of the conspiracy (apart from absconding accused Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and others) died of cardiac arrest on June 28.

Salvi had said that Salem too deserves death, but the prosecution can’t demand it because of the Indian Extradition Act. Under section 34 (C) of the Act, if the country from which the accused has been extradited does not have the capital punishment, he or she can not be sentenced to death but can be given the life sentence. The prosecution wanted the court to record that Salem deserves death penalty but it can’t be given because of the legal restraint, Salvi said.

In the first instalment of the trial which concluded in 2007, the court had convicted 100 accused, including Yakub Memon (who got death penalty) and actor Sanjay Dutt.

The trial of Salem and others was separated as they were arrested later. The serial blasts in the country’s financial capital on March 12, 1993 left 257 people dead, 713 seriously injured and destroyed property worth Rs 27 crore. In the present trial, except Riyaz Siddiqui, the court convicted other five for criminal conspiracy and murder under the IPC and offences under the TADA. Siddiqui was convicted only under the TADA for helping Salem and others in transportation of arms and ammunition.

All of them were absolved of the charge of `waging war against the nation’ under section 121 of IPC. While Dossa arranged landing of explosives including RDX in India and sent some youths to Pakistan for arms training, Salem transported arms and ammunition from Gujarat coast to Mumbai. He also handed over AK-56 rifles, 250 rounds and some hand-grenades to Dutt, and later collected two rifles and some rounds back from the actor’s residence. The court dropped certain charges against Salem in 2013 after the investigating agency, CBI, said those charges were against the extradition treaty between India and Portugal from where Salem was deported in 2005.