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First women to get sentenced in 1993 blasts case
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | June 14, 2007 19:14 IST
Mubina Bhiwandiwala and Zebunnisa Qazi sat next to each other when Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) court Judge P D Kode called out Mubina's name to pronounce her sentence in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
Veiled in a burqa, the duo whispered their prayers as Judge Kode started pronouncing the judgment.
While Mubina had been convicted for allowing main accused Tiger Memon's men to hatch the sinister conspiracy at her home, Zebunnisa had allowed weapons and hand grenades that co-accused Manzoor Ahmed Sayyad brought from actor Sanjay Dutt's [Images] residence, to be kept at her home.
Though the defence counsel's had put forth the argument that Mubina was not involved in the conspiracy as the flat was in her father's name and that she was not part of the meeting, Judge Kode believed otherwise.
"My children have just started going to school. Please show some mercy to me. You too have children, please think of them, judgesaab," she pleaded.
In return, Judge Kode said, "This is the least punishment you can get under TADA. We have been lenient towards you."
"Show mercy. This is not sympathy or leniency," she pleaded again before policewomen cut her short and took her to prison.
Now it was the turn of 60-year-old Zaibunnisa. Mubina's fate had already given her cold feet.
Judge Kode said, "Zaibunnisa was not found guilty under conspiracy but was found guilty under TADA on November 28, 2006. She is a widow and an aged person but unfortunately there is no provision in law under TADA to show leniency."
He handed Zaibunnisa five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 75,000.
Zaibunnisa felt giddy and lost her balance as the judge pronounced the verdict. However, she got to her feet before the policewomen offered help and requested that she be heard before being taken away.
When Judge Kode gave her permission, she said, "I am an old woman. I am not keeping well. Please show some leniency. At least give me bail."
"I don't have the power to give you bail. You can go to the higher courts with your request if you wish�" was all that Judge Kode had to tell her.
Before leaving the court, Zaibunnisa's eyes met with a grim-faced Sanjay Dutt, who did not bat an eyelid. The Bollywood actor is likely to be sentenced next week.
Mubina and Zebunnisa are the first two women to be sentenced in the serial blasts case. The third woman -- Rubeena Memon -- who is prime accused Tiger Memon's sister-in-law, will be sentenced next week.