The Bombay High Court on Friday confirmed the death sentence of three Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, including a couple, accused of the twin blasts in Mumbai in 2003 claiming the lives of 52 persons and injuring over 100.
Two bombs went off at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar after the accused left them in the taxis to explode on August 25, 2003. It was the first time that a married couple was involved in the attack. Five accused were arrested in the case. They have been charged with two more terror attacks – a bomb blast in a bus at Ghatkopar in July 28, 2003; and an unexploded bomb at the Seepz Bus Depot planted on December 2, 2002.
On Friday, a Division Bench of Justices A.M. Khanvilkar and P.D. Kode confirmed the death penalty of Ashrat Shafiq Ansari (34), Mohammad Hanif Abdul Rahim Sayyed (46) and his wife Fahmida Sayyed (43).
But the court partially quashed the order of the lower court discharging two other accused, Hassan Batteriwala and Rizwan Ladduwala, on the basis of a report of the POTA review committee. They will have to face trial for the crimes registered against them under IPC. The two accused have been directed by the High Court to appear before the POTA court in four weeks. All the accused have been given eight weeks to file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The conviction order will be stayed till then.
On August 6, 2009, the special POTA court convicted the three accused and sentenced them to death. Ladoowala and Batterywala were discharged from the case after the apex court upheld a POTA review committee report which stated that no case could be made out.