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1993 blasts: The roles played by police, custom officials

March 21, 2013 18:39 IST

Police and custom officials were among the convicts whose life imprisonment by the TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court for their varying roles in the 1993 Mumbai blasts was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Other convicts whose life sentence was upheld along with Vijay Krisnaji Patil, a dismissed police sub-inspector and S N Thapa, a former additional customs commissioner, whose wife stepped in after his death during the pendency of the appeal, were those who were involved in smuggling and landing of explosives into India, making vehicle bombs and surveying blast sites.

Among those was death convict Yakub Memon's brother Essa Memon who was found guilty of conspiracy and allowing use of his flat at Al-Husseni building in Mahim for meetings to plan the blasts and storing arms and ammunition.

Yakub's sister-in-law Rubina Memon arranged finances through her bank account and allowed her car to be used by terrorist for carrying co-conspirators, arms, ammunition and explosives. The court noted it was this abandoned car, which gave clues to the probe agency. She also allowed her flat and garage in the same building to be used by co-convicts for planning and preparation of terror strikes and storing ammunition.

Yakub's brother Yusuf was also held guilty of similar offences.

Sardar Shahwali Khan, a civil contractor, was held guilty of helping Memon in executing the blasts. He had also participated in weapons training programme at Sandheri and Bhorghat villages in the Raigad district and also attended meetings connected to the blasts conspiracy at the residence of co-accused, Nasir Ahmed and Mubina Baya Bhiwandiwala.

The SC also dismissed the appeal of Thapa, who belonged to the 1972 batch of Indian Custom Excise Service, and held him guilty of intentionally aiding on March 12, 1993 Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Mohmed Dosa and Tiger Memon in smuggling arms, ammunition and explosives into India despite specific information about it.

Muzamil Umar Kadri had participated in landing and transportation of RDX and other weapons and also participated in weapon training programme.

Patil, a dismissed police sub-inspector, had allowed smuggling of arms and their transportation. On the night of January 9, 1993, when a police team intercepted the contraband at Gondghar Phata, he allowed it to pass for a bribe of Rs 7 lakh.

Mohd Salim Mira Shaikh had also facilitated in landing of ammunition. He was a close aide of a silver smuggler and the absconding key conspirator -- Mohammed Dossa.

Nasir Abdul Dakhla had undergone arms training in Pakistan and attended conspiracy meetings. Salim Rahim Shaikh was found guilty of hurling hand grenades at hutments near Mahim causeway killing three. He had undergone training in handling of arms and explosives in Pakistan for which he travelled in a fictitious name as 'Salim Babu Wrane'. He also assisted in the preparation of vehicle bombs by filling explosives at Al-Hussaini Building.

Another life convict Masim Ashraf Shaikh and Bashir Ahmed Usmani were held guilty of preparing vehicle bombs and undergoing training in Pakistan.

Dawood Taklya Phanse had attended a meeting in Dubai convened by Dawood Ibrahim to plan the conspiracy and later organised landing of arms, ammunition and explosives on Shekhadi coast in Raigad district on February 3 and 7, 1993.

The apex court made it clear that those sentenced to life would remain in jail till death.

The SC also rejected the contention of Mohammed Moin Faridulla Qureshi, a life convict, seeking discharge from the case on the ground that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence. He had undergone training arranged by Tiger Memon and surveyed and conducted reconnaissance of the Stock Exchange Building and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporration building for causing explosions and also prepared vehicle bombs at Al-Hussani building.

Shaikh Ali Shaikh Umar was also sentenced to life after it was found that he worked for Tiger Memon and facilitated the strikes. Niyaz Mohd had conducted recce of the BMC building. Zameer Ismail Kadri was found guilty of hiding weapons and hatching conspiracy.

The court also extended to life the 14-year-jail term awarded to Uttam Shantaram Potdar, which it said was not only a close associate of Tiger Memon and acted as a landing agent, but was a man of confidence who could negotiate with the police and customs officials to fix the amount of bribe for facilitating the smuggling and transportation of the smuggled contraband.

The apex court also modified the 10-year sentence of Shahnawaz Hajwani to life term holding him privy to larger conspiracy.

The SC, however, commuted the life term of Imtiyaz Yunusmiya Ghavte who was let off on the imprisonment already undergone on the ground that he was an AIDS patient and has already spent 14 years in jail.

Besides facilitating the landing of ammunition and arms, he had prepared vehicle bombs and planted explosives laden scooter at Dhanji Street.

The life sentence of another convict Ashrafur Rehman Azimulla was reduced to 10 years considering his medical condition, eight and half years already spent in jail and the fact that there was no evidence that the contraband recovered from his possession was used by him in any crime.

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