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'93 blasts: 1 sentenced to death, Thapa gets life term

Last updated on: July 20, 2007 15:45 IST

In yet another judgment awarding capital punishment in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts conspiracy, one more convict was awarded death sentence by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act Court in Mumbai on Friday.

The court also gave life imprisonment to two other persons, including a former customs official, involved in the conspiracy.

Special TADA Judge P D Kode sentenced Mohammed Iqbal Mohammed Yusuf Shaikh to death for his role in the blasts conspiracy, though a scooter bomb planted by him on March 12, 1993, in central Mumbai did not explode.

With this, the number of persons given death sentence in the case has gone up to seven.

Kode held that his case fell in the category of "rarest of rare" and deserved maximum punishment due to the extent to which Shaikh was involved in the conspiracy and also since he was involved in two separate terrorist acts on the same day, despite both not causing any casualty.

Former additional collector of customs (preventive) Somnath Thapa, convicted for allowing the landing of arms and explosives prior to the blasts, was shown leniency and awarded a life sentence since he is suffering from cancer.

Bashir Khairulla, who was part of a group that threw hand grenades at the Fishermen's Colony in central Mumbai to incite communal violence, was sentenced to life imprisonment despite his claim that he had not thrown any himself.

The court has awarded sentences to 87 of the 100 persons convicted for their role in the 1993 serial blasts and 13 persons, including actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted for illegal weapons possession, are still to receive their sentences.

Seven persons have been sentenced to death and 16 to life imprisonment for carrying out 12 blasts in March 1993, which killed 257 people and injured over 700 others.

The court will resume pronouncing sentences on July 24.

Shaikh was convicted of having parked a scooter filled with 15 kg RDX in the Naigaum area of central Mumbai, which failed to explode.

He had also been convicted for ferrying fellow convict Nasim Barmare, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the court, to a flyover near Mumbai's international airport where the latter threw a hand grenade.

Thapa had been convicted for intentionally diverting a surveillance team from the location of the actual landing of arms and explosives in Raigad district.

The arms and explosives brought into the country were later used in the serial blasts.

Thapa, who has been suffering from cancer, is undergoing treatment and had sought leniency from the court due to his ailment.

The court had convicted Khairulla for being part of a group of six people who went to the Fishermen's Colony at Mahim in central Mumbai and lobbed hand grenades.

The attack left three dead and six injured and also led to minor rioting in the area by locals who burnt several vehicles and shops.

Khairulla had claimed that the hand grenade thrown by him had failed to explode due to which he should receive a lesser sentence, but the court observed that there was evidence that his argument was invalid.

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