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'93 blasts: 3 sentenced to death, 14 get life terms
July 18, 2007 15:27 IST
The special court in Mumbai conducting the trial of the 1993 serial blasts case on Wednesday awarded death sentences for the first time to three persons who planted explosives at various locations in Mumbai.
Abdul Gani Ismail Turk, Pervez Shaikh and Mohammed Mushtaq Tarani were sentenced to death by by Judge P D Kode of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act Court for placing explosive-laden vehicles in various places on March 12, 1993.
Turk, a former employee of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, was given capital punishment for parking a jeep filled with RDX at Century Bazaar in Worli. This blast caused the maximum fatalities -- 113 -- and injured 227 people.
Shaikh was convicted by the court for planting a RDX-filled scooter at Katha Bazaar in south Mumbai that killed four persons and injured 21 and for planting a bomb in Sea Rock Hotel in the north-western suburb of Bandra that damaged property worth crores of rupees.
The court sentenced Tarani to death for planting a vehicle filled with explosives at Sheikh Memon Street in south Mumbai and a suitcase bomb at Centaur Hotel in suburban Mumbai.
Apart from the three death sentences, the TADA court has sentenced 14 others to life imprisonment.
With Wednesday's death sentences, the court has so far sentenced 81 of the 100 people convicted in the case.
Actor Sanjay Dutt [Images], convicted under the Arms Act, is among those who are yet to be sentenced.
The serial blasts killed 257 people and injured hundreds more.
Judge Kode dismissed the defence counsel's arguments that the act was committed to avenge the riots that followed the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
He said there was no evidence that the convicts had been directly affected by the riots.
On the contrary, it had been found that these acts had brought disgrace to the Muslim community, Kode observed.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the court's verdict proved that the trio had been indulging in terrorist acts in connivance with absconding accused like Tiger Memon and gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
"The court has accepted our plea that this was among the rarest of rare cases, which merited the death penalty and I am sure that this judgment will be upheld by the Supreme Court as well, given the proof we have presented," Nikam said.