Mumbai, Jun 20 (PTI) Feroz Abdul Rashid, one of the six convicts in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case today pleaded with an anti-terror court today to spare him from the noose and award life term instead.
“I don’t want death (capital punishment) I want life (imprisonment) so that my children can see me sometime,” Feroz told made a fervent plea to the court with folded hands and sobbing uncontrollably while pleading for mercy from the Special Judge GA Sanap of TADA court.
He told the court that if sentenced to life term, he would neither seek remission (of his sentence) nore parole or furlough (release from prison for some days).
Feroz’s lawyer was examining him to highlight the mitigating circumstances of his case to invoke court’s leniency in sentencing.
Advocate Wahab Khan had filed an application yesterday saying that he wants to examine three witnesses including Feroz himself.
“I don’t belong (to the place) where I am (at present),” Feroz told the court while terming his conviction as ‘harsh.’ He said he cannot eat properly and is on the ‘verge of a disaster and about to collapse.’
“I want to look after my kids and be with my father,” he said.
He also told the court that he has completed a course which is equivalent to Class XII and did a course on human rights. He said that he was one of the topper of the Gandhi Peace Examination which was conducted in the jail.
“I could not complete my studies as I was shifted from the Arthur Road Jail to Taloja jail,” Feroz told the court.
He said that during his arrest in 2010 he had dependent parents, wife and children and said that after his arrest his family was facing severe financial crisis.
Feroz said that after his arrest his mother had started tailoring work and his father, who had retired from Navy, used to get pension of Rs 6,000.
He also said his wife started earning by applying mehandi on tourists in Dubai.
He said it is about seven and half years since he is in prison but his children don’t know about his incarceration and they believe that he would return home some day.
He added that the society had outcast him and his family after his arrest.
Feroz told the court that he at the time of his arrest was diabetic and now he has become type-II diabetes.
“My eyesight and bones have become weak,” Feroz said.
When judge Sanap said he took care of the accused during the trial Feroz replied ‘aage bhi khayal rakhiye’ (please continue to take care of us in future too).
He also said that he has taught English to around 8 to 10 inmates while in the jail and has also helped many inmates in drafting court related papers.
“I have advised people in jail to mend their ways and to do good for others,” Feroz said.
He said on his advise a person charged with molestation went to the victim and apologized for his crime after which he was acquitted and presently he was working with Merchant Navy.
Feroz said he was in Mumbai during Babri Masjid demolition, Mumbai riots and the 1993 blasts.
Feroz relied on a confession given by another accused that he refused to go to Pakistan, showed repentance and his plea to turn approver which was later rejected should be seen as a mitigating circumstance for showing leniency to him.
Meanwhile, special CBI counsel Deepak Salvi told the court that he would go through Feroz’s statement and would decide if he needed to be cross-examined.
The court also issued summonses to two other witnesses called by Feroz.
The court on Friday had convicted six persons including Mustafa Dossa, one of the masterminds of the conspiracy, and the extradited gangster Abu Salem, 24 years after the serial blasts that killed 257 people in the country’s financial capital Mumbai.
In the first phase of the trial which concluded in 2007, the court had convicted 100 accused.
The trial of Salem, Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Feroz Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Qayyum was separated because they were arrested later.
While Qayyum was acquitted due to lack of evidence, Siddiqui was convicted under TADA for helping Salem and others with transportation of arms.
The other five were convicted for being party to the criminal conspiracy along with other offences under the IPC, TADA, Explosives Act.
The court absolved all seven of the charge of `waging the war against the state.
The prosecution yesterday had told the court that it would seek the maximum punishment under the law for the six persons convicted last week in the 1993 serial blasts case.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.