Special Correspondent

Case moves into `sentencing' phase

  • Arguments on quantum of sentence from December 11
  • Nine bomb "planters" face the death penalty

    MUMBAI:Exactly 100 of the 123 accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case have been convicted on various counts.

    Judge P.D. Kode, who began delivering the verdict at the designated TADA court on September 12, concluded the process on Monday.

    He declared the last six in the list guilty for hurling grenades at the fishermen's colony in Mahim.

    The case now moves into the sentencing phase. The judge will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence from December 11. After that, he will start awarding the sentence.

    The nearly three-month-long process invited immense media interest, with special attention paid to actor Sanjay Dutt.

    He was convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons. Three others too were charged under the same Act.

    Of the seven connected to the charge of delivering weapons to him, Ajay Marwah was acquitted.

    A woman, Zaibunissa Kadri, was held guilty under Section 3(3) of the TADA Act.

    There have been other significant rulings too.

    Of the eight policemen charged, five were convicted. One was charged with conspiracy, while others were convicted for allowing RDX and arms pass through the check-post they manned.

    Customs officers convicted

    All five Customs officers charged were found guilty on various charges. One of them is the former Additional Customs Collector, S.N. Thapa.

    He was convicted under Section 120-b of the IPC and under Section 3(3) of the TADA Act (aiding and abetting terror acts).

    This is the first case in which a senior Government official has been held guilty on a charge relating to terrorism.

    Most serious charges

    The most serious charges were against nine "planters." They were responsible for placing RDX at various places in the city, leading to the serial blasts in which 257 people were killed and over 800 injured.

    The nine face the death penalty.

    Though Tiger Memon, the main accused, is absconding, his brothers Yakub, Yusuf and Essa and sister-in-law Rubeena were charged with being part of the conspiracy and with storing arms. Three others of his family were acquitted.

    3 women convicted

    Of the 100 convicted, three are women: Rubeena, Zaibunissa Kadri and Mubina Baya Bhiwandiwala, who was charged with arranging conspiracy meetings at her residence.

    This is the first time in judicial history that 100 accused have been found guilty in a single case, according to Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

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