8 sentenced for aiding terrorist act in blasts case

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Actor Sanjay Dutt entering the TADA court in Mumbai on Friday.
Actor Sanjay Dutt entering the TADA court in Mumbai on Friday.

Prachi Pinglay

Sanjay Dutt summoned just for attendance, allowed to go early

MUMBAI: A week after the final sentencing began in the Mumbai serial blasts case the special TADA court announced sentences for eight accused, who played a part in organising weapon training in Konkan and the landing, transporting and storing of the contraband containing arms and ammunition. A part of these goods was allegedly used in the serial explosions on March 12, 1993 in Mumbai, which killed 257 and injured 700 people.

Special judge P.D. Kode primarily sentenced all the eight accused under Section 3(3) (aiding and abetting a terrorist act) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

Before pronouncing the sentences he clarified that though everyone was sentenced under the conspiracy charge the sentences would correspond to their actual actions and would range from a minimum of five years to life or death sentence.

Judge Kode said that certain media reports claiming that the accused have been treated with leniency are not founded on reason as the court has considered several grounds and evidence before awarding punishment.

He said, "Someone who participated in transporting of goods much before the final conspiracy was hatched and had no prior knowledge cannot be sentenced for the murder of 257 people. He will be sentenced for transporting or possessing of the illegal weapon or hand grenade, which cannot be used for any legal purposes."

He sentenced Shahid Qureshi for his role in the Shekhadi landing in February 1993. He noted that Qureshi had the special privilege of going in a boat with prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, which proves that he was close to Memon.

He also noted that Qureshi was taken from Mumbai to participate in the landing operation at Shekhadi. He sentenced him to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000.

Judge Kode then called Shahnawaz Hajwani, Sikandar Hajwani and Issaq Hajwani and sentenced them for their role in organising weapons training.

The fifth accused to be sentenced was Janardan Gambas who had participated in the Dighi landing in January 1993. He was sentenced to a total of six years RI and a fine of Rs. 75,000.

Fakir Ali and Abdullah Surti were awarded six years RI and a total fine of Rs. 50,000 for concealing weapons.

The court had summoned film actor Sanjay Dutt and few other accused who are convicted but are out on interim bail.

Mr. Dutt was allowed to leave before the proceedings started, as he had been summoned just for attendance. It was his father, Sunil Dutt's second death anniversary.

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