Dutt sentenced to six years in prison
93 Mumbai blasts case more.....
Sanjay Dutt held guilty under Arms Act, but is not a Terrorist
|'93 blasts: Plaza bombers
18 Sep, 2006
MUMBAI: Asgar Mukadam and Shahnawaz Qureishi, the accused in the serial blasts case who are charged with planting the bombs at different sites, have been held guilty by a TADA court.
Asgar Mukadam is alleged to have planted the bomb outside Plaza cinema.
Along with him, accused number 29, Shahnawaz Qureishi has also been charged for parking a car packed with explosives outside the theatre.
The explosion had killed 10 people on March 12, 1993. The judge is expected to deliver the verdict on all the alleged bombers, around 15 of them, in the next few days.
Following this, he is scheduled to hear legal arguments by the prosecution and defence on the quantum of the sentence for those held guilty.
On Monday, apart from pronouncing the verdict on at least one of the alleged bombers, judge Kode also heard the legal submission from the defence and the CBI on the quantum of punishment to be handed out to the Memon family members who were found guilty last week.
In 1989, he was arrested by customs for smuggling gold and spent eight months in jail.
Turk had first met those involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts while he was working in Saudi Arabia and was later introduced to Tiger Memon who was a big-time gold smuggler at that time.
After the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and the rioting that followed, Memon asked Turk to help with the landing of arms and ammunition at Shekhadi in February 1993.
Turk helped to bring them to Mumbai. Once in Mumbai, Memon told Turk and others connected with the serial blasts that riots had led to the killing of Muslim women and children and the arms and ammunition that had been brought in would help to take revenge. In March 1993, only a few days before the blasts, Turk accompanied Memon and some other men to Mahad where Memon taught them how to fire automatic weapons and lob grenades.
When a few passers-by heard the firing, they were told that there was a film shooting in progress which was causing all the noise.
On March 11, 1993, Turk went to Al Hussaini building in Mahim where several men were packing explosives into vehicles and putting timers on them.
On the day of the blasts,
he drove a Commander jeep to a spot at Worli and parked it there around
The bomb which Turk had planted near the Century Bazaar was the one which caused maximum damage. Over 120 people, many of them travelling by a BEST bus which bore the brunt of the explosion, died in the attack.
TADA court found four
However, three other members of the family, Suleiman, Rahin and Hanifa have been set free by the special TADA court giving them the benefit of doubt.
The first batch of the judgement in the 1993 serial blasts that killed more than 250 people was pronounced by Judge PD Kode on Tuesday after 13 years of the attacks.
One of the main accused, Tiger Memon has been declared absconding while his father Abdul Razzak passed away during the trial.
Verdict on other accused, including actor Sanjay Dutt, is expected sequentially. Dutt is accused number 117 on the list of 123 and verdict on his fate is expected in a month or so. Dutt, meanwhile, will resume shooting.
The court read its judgment amidst tight security. The decision comes 13 years after serial explosions rocked the city.
On August 10, the court had started dictation of the verdict and said it would deliver the final judgement on September 12.
The case is historic as CBI, the prosecuting agency, has examined 686 witnesses with the court recording 13,000 pages as evidence during the trial that went on for six years - a record of sorts in Indian legal history.
With Judge P D Kode announcing earlier that he would deliver the verdict on September 10, legal sources said the judgement is likely to spread over the next 15 days as the court would take time to announce its findings and decide the quantum of punishment for the convicts.
Altogether 257 were killed and 173 injured when series of explosions rocked 13 places in the city on March 12, 1993. Property worth Rs 27 crores was destroyed in the blasts.
Ninety-four accused, including Sanjay Dutt are currently on bail, while 29 others are in jail custody. Trial of three more accused - Abu Salem, Riyaz Siddiqui and Mustafa Dossa - has been separated as they were arrested much later. Eleven accused died during trial while one, Riyaz Khatri jumped bail and two others - Samajwadi Party MP Abu Asim Azmi and Amjad Mehr Baksh - were discharged by the Supreme Court.
Twenty-nine accused were discharged earlier by the Supreme Court while 29 people were declared absconding when the chargesheet was filed in 1993 soon after the bomb blasts.
The blasts were masterminded by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim with the help of his lieutenants Tiger Memon and Mohammed Dossa, allegedly at the instance of Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, to avenge demolition of the disputed Babri Masjid, the CBI has claimed in the chargesheet.
According to CBI, the perpetrators of the serial blasts intended to shatter the country's economy, as was indicative from the selection of blasts sites namely Bombay Stock Exchange, Air-India building, hotel Sea Rock, hotel Centaur Juhu, hotel Centaur Airport, and in busy areas of Zaveri Bazaar, Katha Bazaar and Century Bazaar.
A petrol pump near the Shiv Sena Bhavan and Plaza theatre were also targetted as blasts killed many people.
As part of the conspiracy, hand grenades were hurled at a Hindu colony in Mahim, triggering riots in the city in which several motor vehicles, shops and houses were damaged.
Hand grenades were also hurled at the airport but no damage was caused, while RDX-stuffed scooters that had failed to explode were seized from Naigaon and Dhanji Street.
The explosions occurred between 1:30 pm to 3:40 pm on a Friday sending shockwaves among the people across the country.
The CBI has said that a well-planned conspiracy was hatched by Dawood, Memon and Dossa in 1992, that resulted in landing of arms and RDX at Shekadhi in Raigad district on January seven, 1993 and February two, 1993.
Another consignment of arms landed at Dighi coast in Raigad district, near here, on January 9, 1993, and this was handled by Mohammed Dossa.
Dawood, Memon and Dossa are absconding accused in the list of 29. While Dawood was already abroad when the blasts occurred, Memon and Dosa fled a day before. According to special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, the conspiracy meetings were held at the house of co-accused Babloo and Mubina Baya Bhiwandiwala, adopted sister of Tiger Memon. Another round of meetings was also held at Dubai and in Persian Durbar Hotel at Panvel.
Nikam said there is evidence against Dawood Ibrahim, but defence lawyer Farhana Shah said the only evidence against him was the statement of co-accused Dawood Phanse.
In furtherance of conspiracy, Tiger Memon at the instance of Dawood and his absconding brother Anees Ibrahim, summoned his men, Dawood Taklya, Abdul Kadar, Aziz Mohamed Shaikh, Ahmed Shah Khan, Yakub Memon, Ayub Memon, Taher Taklya and Mohammed Dossa between December 1992 to January 1993 to chalk out plans to create explosions and strike terror.
Twenty-five accused were sent to Pakistan via Dubai for training in arms and ammunition. Their visits were sponsored by local firms in Dubai and trips were arranged in collusion with Pakistani agents as it transpired during investigations that no immigration and emigration formalities were observed at Islamabad airport, according to chargesheet filed by CBI.
They travelled by Pakistan International Airlines and their passports were collected by Tiger Memon and his men. It also transpired during investigations that the accused were indoctrinated by their foreign trainers that Muslims in India had suffered heavily during communal riots of 1992-93 and thus their religious sentiments were exploited to strike terror, it said.
Bulk of finance relating to travel of the accused to Pakistan for arms training came from Yakub Memon and Ayub Memon, brothers of Tiger Memon.
Eighteen other accused took part in training programmes in villages Sandheri and Bhorghat in Raigad district of Maharashtra. They were trained to handle AK-56 rifle, 9 mm pistols, hurling hand grenades and in the use of RDX.
Court to deliver verdict
- 1993 Mumbai blasts
Special judge P D Kode is expected to take up the case of all the accused individually. He fixed 12 September as the day of judgment last month. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said there was no legal hindrance for the judgment to be delivered.
The first person to know his fate will be Yakub Memon, accused number one on the list of 123 who have faced trial. The 36-year-old Yakub, known to be a reserved type who loves reading, is a qualified chartered accountant.
He has shared a 64-square-foot room in barrack number 10 with his brother, Essa, for the last 12 years since their surrender in August 1994 till the latter was granted interim bail this July.
The judgment, once it begins, is likely to go on for at least four months (of only working days) if the court takes up the case of one accused each day. Legal experts say the judge may seek arguments from the prosecuting agency, which is CBI, as well as the defence lawyers after each conviction is pronounced.
The arguments may be wrapped up in a single day or could go on for several days, depending on the charges and role of the accused; if the latter happens, then the case may go beyond the first few months of the next year.
The first eight accused on the list are all from the Memon family (including accused number five Abdul Razzak, Yakub's father who died of illness in September 2001 while on interim medical bail The main charge Yakub and his family faces is that of conspiring or abetting acts of terror under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, which has been repealed.
The charge attracts a minimum of five years and a maximum of a life in prison. Only Yakub faces an additional charge under Section 5 of Tada for possession of unauthorised arms, which is also punishable by up to life imprisonment.
All this means the pronouncement of verdict of those accused of crime that are punishable by the death starts with accused number nine, Mohammad Kasam Ghansar, who is in jail and is accused of planting the bomb at Katha Bazar where 17 died.
The next four on the list of the accused (numbers 10 to 13) are also accused of planting bombs that killed; the places ranged from Century Bazar to the Mahim fishermen's colony.
All the accused will have to be present in court on Tuesday. The proceedings will start with a roll-call. The largish court-room actually resembles a classroom with 11 rows of wooden benches.
Sanjay Dutt will be there along with the 122 others who are living or have not been discharged (like Abu Asam Azmi). But Abu Salem, who was recently extradited, would not be there as his trial was separated from the main case.
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