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Posted at: Sep 8, 2017, 1:56 AM; last updated: Sep 8, 2017, 1:37 PM (IST)

Salem given life term, co-conspirators death

Sentencing 24 yrs after Mumbai blasts that killed 257

Shiv Kumar

Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 7

Gangster Abu Salem was today sentenced to life imprisonment even as two of his co-conspirators, Tahir Merchant and Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, were awarded the death penalty for their role in carrying out the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The fourth convict, Karimullah Khan, was awarded the life sentence and the fifth, Riyaz Siddiqui, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Mustafa Dossa, who along with Salem was one of the masterminds, died of a heart attack in jail on June 28 shortly after being pronounced guilty. The blasts across Mumbai on March 12, 1993, had left 257 persons dead.

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Judge GA Sanap of the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] court also slapped varying amounts of fine on the convicts after finding them guilty of murder, hatching a criminal conspiracy to carry out the blasts, waging a war against the nation and supplying arms and ammunition, Special Public Prosecutor Deepak Salve told mediapersons.

Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005 after India gave an undertaking that he would not be awarded the death penalty, if found guilty.

Gangsters Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, who were found guilty of masterminding the blasts, are believed to be hiding in Pakistan while Yakub Memon, nabbed in Nepal, was hanged to death in Nagpur Central Jail on July 30, 2015, his 53rd birthday.

The much-awaited verdict on the quantum of sentencing came 24 years after the blasts and nearly 80 days after they were found guilty. This was the second leg of trial, the earlier having been completed in 2007 with the conviction of 100 of the 123 accused, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt and Yakub Memon. 

Dutt completed his sentence in jail and walked out in February 2016.

In the first phase, probably the longest terror case trial in India, the then Special TADA Court Judge, PD Kode, sentenced 12 convicts to death and 20 to life term. (Inputs from agencies)


1993 BLASTS CASE TIMELINE

  • March 12, 1993:  As many as 13 bombs rip through Mumbai, leaving  257 dead
  • April 19: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arrested for illegal possession of a 9 mm pistol and AK-56 rifle and ammunition; later granted bail by Bombay High Court
  • November 4: Mumbai crime branch files primary chargesheet, naming 189 accused, including Dutt 
  • November 19: Case handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  • April 10, 1994: TADA court discharges 26 accused and frames charges against rest. SC later discharges Abu Azmi (now SP leader) and Amjed Meher Baux
  • June 30, 1995: Accused Mohammed Jameel and Usman Jhankanan turn approvers
  • October 14: Supreme Court grants bail to actor Sanjay Dutt
  • Sept 12, 2006: Judge PD Kode pronounces Tiger Memon, Yakub Memon and two more of family guilty and acquits three. Twelve convicts awarded death penalty, 20 get life sentence
  • March 21, 2013: SC upholds death sentence of Yakub Memon, commutes death sentence of 10 convicts to life term. Sanjay Dutt sent to 5 years’ jail
  • February 2016: Sanjay Dutt released from Yerwada jail

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