A Special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court on Thursday sentenced Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant to death in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan have been sentenced to life with a fine of Rs. 2 lakh.
Riyaz Siddiqui, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail. Convict Mustafa Dossa passed away within a fortnight of the verdict.
On June 16, the Special TADA court had found Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa and four others guilty of conspiring and carrying out a string of bomb blasts that ripped through the heart of Mumbai in 1993 and killed 257 people.
Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam confirmed to the media that prosecution could not have sought death penalty for Abu Salem due to the extradition agreement that the Indian government has with Portugal.
Special TADA judge GA Sanap had pronounced Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant guilty under sections 120B, 302, 307, 326, 427, 435, 436, 201 and 212 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 3, 3(3), 5, 6 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Rapid Protection Act, and provisions of the Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Abdul Qayyum Karim Sheikh is the only accused who was acquitted of all charges in the case as the court held that the prosecution failed to prove charge of conspiracy against him and held that evidence was not credible.
However, all the accused were held not guilty under Section 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India) of the IPC.
The court accepted the prosecution’s case that the conspiracy to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid that took place on December 6, 1992, was hatched in Dubai at Mustafa Dossa’s house, where main accused Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Eijaz Pathan and Mohammed Dossa were present and “in order to teach a lesson to the Hindus and Hindu leaders”, it was decided that arms and ammunitions will be sent to India.
Abu Salem transported and distributed arms and ammunitions used in the blast, Mustafa Dossa arranged for the arms and explosives in Mumbai, and also sent some individuals to Pakistan for training.
While Salem was extradited from Portugal, Dossa was extradited from the UAE.
Karimullah Khan is said to have been aware of the effects of RDX and he facilitated its landing in the city to be used for the blast.
On March 12, 1993, 12 bombs exploded at different locations across the city of Mumbai, taking away 257 lives and injuring 713 people. Property worth approximately Rs. 23 crore was damaged.
A charge sheet was filed against 129 accused, out of which 100 were convicted. Twelve of the accused were awarded death sentence, while 20 were sentenced to life in 2006. Later, the trial court commuted the death sentence to life for 10 of the accused.