M A I N   N E W S

11 get life term for Mumbai blasts
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 9
A Mumbai Sessions Court today sentenced 11 accused persons to life imprisonment for setting off bombs in the city in 1998. Among those sentenced included Javed Ghulam Hassan, an alleged agent of Pakistanís Inter Services Intelligence Service.

One person, Shamshed Ghulam Haider, another Pakistani national, was acquitted for lack of evidence. He is likely to be deported to Pakistan soon.

All accused have been convicted of being part of a conspiracy to carry out blasts at railway stations, platforms and railway tracks in and around Mumbai. In all, four persons had died in the blasts.

The accused are Aftab Sayeed Ahmed, Asgar Kadar Shaikh, Afzal Abdul Hamid, Iqbal Mohammed Hanif, Jaffer Abdul Shaikh, Kadir Mohammed Shafi,Shaikh Shahid Khalid Ansari, Shabir Bashir Chavan, Javed Gulam Hussain, Farooq Yusuf Shaikh and Mohammed Yakub Abdul Majeed.

Though prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam sought the death penalty for Aftab Sayeed Ahmed, Asgar Kadar Shaikh, Farooq Yusuf Shaikh and Javed Gulam Hussain, Additional Sessions Judge V.L. Achalia rejected the plea and reduced the sentence to life imprisonment. The judge also directed the state government not to exercise its powers to condone or reduce the punishment.

Besides life sentence, the accused were handed over various other sentences by the court which ruled that all sentences should run consecutively and not concurrently.

According to the charge sheet against the accused, they allegedly hatched a conspiracy in 1997 to carry out blasts at railway stations, railway platforms and railway tracks in and around Mumbai.

Accordingly, they set off five blasts during January and February, 1998, on the suburban sections of Central and Western Railway lines in Mumbai. The blasts were carried out at Kanjurmarg station of Central Railway, near Virar station, on railway tracks between Goregaon and Malad, near Santacruz railway station and on platform No 2 at Kandivali railway station of Western Railway.

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