Mustafa Dossa, one of the masterminds of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and a close aide of fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, on Wednesday died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Mumbai, a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation sought capital punishment for the convict.
Dossa, 60, died at Mumbai's J J Hospital where he was admitted in the early hours on Wednesday after complaining of chest pain, a police official said.
During the hearing of arguments before a special Terrorists And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court on the quantum of sentence, the CBI on Tuesday argued that the role of Dossa, one of the six convicts in the 1993 serial blasts case, was 'more severe' than that of hanged convict Yakub Memon and pleaded for his death sentence.
Dossa had smuggled firearms, ammunition, detonators, hand grenades and highly explosive substances like RDX into India for the co-ordinated blasts, according to the prosecution, The blasts rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, claiming 257 lives and injuring over 700 people.
According to the hospital's dean, T P Lahane, "Dossa was admitted to the jail ward of the hospital at 3 am."
He complained of chest pain and had uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes and infection, Lahane said.
Dossa died at 2.30 pm due to cardiac arrest, he said.
The special TADA court adjourned till Friday the arguments for deciding the quantum of sentence.
When the court assembled after the recess at 3 pm, special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi told the court that Dossa was no more.
"It's unfortunate and shocking," special TADA court judge G A Sanap said. Salvi told the court that he was not in a position to argue the case on Wednesday and sought adjournment till Friday.
"Yesterday (Tuesday), on the occasion of Eid, he had wished everybody, including me," Salvi told the court.
The court also allowed an application moved by Dossa's brother Haroon seeking custody of his body to perform his last rites.
Dossa's advocate Sultan Khan moved the application and the CBI gave its no-objection.
According to the central probing agency, Dossa was one of the 'brains' behind the conspiracy and his degree of responsibility towards the commission of the crime was the highest.
The special TADA court here had on June 16 convicted five accused, including Dossa and extradited gangster Abu Salem, under the charges of murder, conspiracy and sections of now repealed TADA, while the sixth accused Riyaz Siddiqui was convicted only under the TADA Act.
Sanap had then observed that Dossa 'actively, wilfully, deliberately and consciously' participated in the meeting (held at residence of his elder brother Mohammed Dossa in Dubai) 'which gave birth to the original design of the heinous criminal conspiracy to take revenge against the Government and the Hindus' for demolition of Babri Masjid.
"For achieving the object of the conspiracy he took the first step and sent arms and ammunition from Dubai and Pakistan to Dighi (in Raigad district) on January 9, 1993," the judge had said.
The Dossa brothers made travel arrangements for co-accused Feroz Khan and others to travel to Dubai and their stay.
At the behest of (absconding accused) Dawood Ibrahim, Mustafa made arrangement for co-accused's travel to Pakistan for terror training, the court noted.
Dossa also gave some of the AK-56 rifles, which landed at Dighi, to (absconding conspirator) Tiger Memon. These weapons were used to impart training to several co-accused.
The plan was to use these rifles to open fire at Mumbai civic body's (BMC) headquarters and other places to kill political leaders and senior police officials, the court said.
The trial of the seven -- Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum -- was separated from the main case as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial.
The court had acquitted Abdul Quayyum of all charges.
Photograph: PTI Photo