In a major development in the ongoing 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast Case, a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (TADA) Court has today pronounced the quantum of sentence against all the major convicts. The court verdict on the judgement day today ruled, that dreaded gangster Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan gets life imprisonment while the other main convict, Riaz Siddiqui, gets 10 years in jail. However, the court pronounced death penalty for Tahir Merchant and Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, who will be hanged until death unless their punishment gets over-ruled on appeal.
The TADA court, on June 16 this year, convicted six accused, including masterminds Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa, in the 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blast case. While the court, today, pronounced the quantum of sentence for five convicts, Mustafa Dossa, who died of a heart attack earlier this year, was not present to attend the court verdict. The court had convicted the accused on charges including murder, criminal conspiracy and other sections of Indian Penal Code, TADA Act, Explosive Substances Act, Explosives Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
This was the second leg of the crucial trial on the serial blasts at the financial capital of India, where seven were accused and underwent the trial by a special TADA court in Mumbai. In its first trial, the court convicted 100 people among whom 23 were later acquitted. In connection with the same case, Yakub Menon was earlier hanged in 2015.
Prime accused Abu Salem was accused of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai and was extradited from Portugal in 2005. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had batted for a life imprisonment of Abu Salem and other accused Tahir Merchant and Karimullah Khan. A capital punishment for Salem couldn’t be pronounced as he was booked under Section 34C of the Extradition Act.
A series of 13 blasts in shook Mumbai and its suburbs on March 12, 1993, claiming the lives of 257 people and injuring at least 700 more. Reportedly, India’s fugitive gang-lord Dawood Ibrahim, who also figures in Interpol’s ‘most-wanted’ list, had major roles to play in the attack. With the hearing of the case beginning in 2007, the court recorded more than 750 prosecution witnesses and 50 witnesses in connection with the serial blasts. However, the hearing got delayed till 2012 with three pending petitions from Mustafa Dossa, Abu Salem and CBI