Mumbai, September 7: The TADA court on Thursday sentenced Abu Salem and Karimulla Khan to life and imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh each in 1993 Bombay blasts case. Convicts Taher Merchant and Feroz Khan get death sentence in the attacks. Riyaz Siddiqui has been sentenced to 10 years.
A series of 12 blasts rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people and injuring 713 others. 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).
Apart from Salem, others who were convicted include Feroz Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimulla Khan. The court had also convicted Mustafa Dossa but he had died of cardiac arrest on June 28, 2017. He was convicted on charges of conspiracy and murder under various sections of the IPC besides offences under the TADA Act, the Arms Act and the Explosives Act. According to the prosecution, Mustafa and his brother, Mohammad, organised key meetings to discuss the blasts.
Abdul Qayyum Shaikh was acquitted by the court as he had allegedly sent arms and ammunition from abroad which landed at Dighi Jerry. He also had allegedly sold a licensed revolver to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt in September 1992.
The court found Salem guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai ahead of the blasts. He had handed over to Sanjay Dutt — who was an accused in the case for illegally possessing weapons — AK 56 rifles, 250 rounds and some hand grenades at his residence on January 16, 1993. On January 18, 1993, Salem and two others went to Dutt’s house and got back two rifles and some rounds.
In November 2005, Salem was extradited from Portugal and his confession led to the arrests of Siddiqui and Shaikh.
Siddique provided logistical support – arranging car and finance for transportation of the accused – and ammunition. He also attended many of the meetings where the conspiracy was hatched, the Hindustan Times reported.
Taher has been charged with helping the accused travel to Pakistan via Dubai for training in handling arms and ammunition. A resident of Kambekar Street in central Mumbai, Taher grew up with Dawood and his brothers and had a predominant role in the blasts. He allegedly motivated associates to arrange men from Mumbai for training in handling of arms and ammunition in Pakistan. He was extradited from Abu Dhabi in 2010, the Times of India reported.
Shaikh and Khan have been charged with off-loading consignments sent by Dossa.
Mumbai blasts was the first-ever terrorist attack in the world in which 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 Dawood Ibrahim along with others — Tiger Memon, Mohammed Dossa and Mustafa Dossa 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.
With inputs from Agencies