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1993 Mumbai blasts case: Tahir Merchant, Feroz Khan awarded death penalty, Abu Salem gets lifer


Tahir Merchant and Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, two of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, were awarded the death sentence by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (TADA) Court on Thursday in Mumbai.

Other accused, Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan, were sentenced to life imprisonment, Riyaz Siddiqui was sentenced for ten years.

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, while addressing the media after the pronouncement of the verdict, said, “The convicts will get set-off for the time they have served in jail. Today, the TADA special court has awarded death sentence to Tahir Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan. Karimullah Khan and Abu Salem have received life term imprisonment and Riyaz Siddiqui has been jailed for ten years.”

Meanwhile, lawyer Deepak Salve elucidating about the lifer said that, “If the government does not commute the sentence, then the guilty will have to serve jail term till his entire life.”

The court had convicted six people, including the mastermind of the 1993 serial blasts that had killed 257 and injured 713 people, Mustafa Dossa and Abu Salem, on June 16 this year.

Dossa died on June 28 following which, the case against him was closed.

The CBI had claimed that the role of Dossa was “more severe” than Yakub Memon, who was hanged in July 2015 in the same case.

The CBI had also said that Dossa, Merchant and Feroz, were “main conspirators”.

Arguments over the degree of sentences continued after the conviction in June and concluded on August 10.

All the accused were facing multiple charges like criminal conspiracy, waging war against the government and murder of people.

This was the second leg of the trial – in the first leg that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 people were acquitted.

The attacks were planned by Dawood Ibrahim, India’s ‘most wanted’ fugitive who also has his name prominently figuring on the ‘most wanted’ lists of the US and the Interpol.

Mumbai serial blast case: March 12, 1993 to September 7, 2017

Maharashtra’s capital Mumbai, known as Bombay on March 12 1993 was rocked by serial bomb blasts in which 257 people were killed and 713 were grievously injured. After 24 years, a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) TADA court in Mumbai on Thursday sentenced Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant to death, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan both got life in prison.

Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the Memon family are believed to be the masterminds behind the attack. While Dawood, Tiger and Ayub Memon are absconding, authorities nabbed Yakub Memon. Yakub was sentenced to death and hanged on July 30, 2015 in Nagpur Jail.

Here is the timeline of the case

March 12, 1993: At 1:30 p.m. a powerful car bomb exploded in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange building, kills 50 people. About 30 minutes later, another car bomb explodes in front of the Mandvi Branch Corporation Bank near Masjid. And, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. a total of 13 bombs exploded throughout Mumbai. In total, 257 people were killed and 713 were grievously injured.

April 19, 1993: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, son of late actor and Congress leader Sunil Dutt, was arrested on charges of illegal possession of a 9mm pistol and AK-56 rifle and ammunition. A week later, the actor confessed about possession of arms and destroying it and was later granted bail by Bombay High Court.

November 4, 1993: Mumbai crime branch files primary charge sheet naming 189 accused, including Sanjay Dutt.

November 19, 1993: Case handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

April 1, 1994: TADA court shifts from city’s sessions and civil court to a separate building inside the premises of the Arthur Road Central Jail.

April 10, 1995: The TADA court discharges 26 accused in the case and framed charges against the remaining. The Supreme Court later discharges Abu Azmi (now Samajwadi Party leader) and Amjed Meher Baux.

April 19, 1995: Trial commences.

June 30, 1995: Two accused, Mohammed Jameel and Usman Jhankanan, turn approvers in the case.

October 14, 1995: Supreme Court grants bail to actor Sanjay Dutt.

October, 2000: Examination of prosecution witnesses ends.

October 18, 2001: Prosecution completes arguments.

November 9, 2001: Defence starts arguments.

August 22, 2002: Defence closes arguments.

March 2003: The court separates gangster Mustafa Dossa’s trial in the case.

September 2003: Trial ends. Court reserves Judgement.

June 13, 2006: Gangster Abu Salem’s trial separated.

September 12, 2006: Judge P.D Kode pronounces Tiger Memon, Yakub Memon and two more of their family members guilty in the case, and acquits three. Twelve convicts awarded death penalty and 20 given life sentence.

November 1, 2011: Supreme Court begins hearing on appeals filed by the 100 convicts as well as the state.

March 21, 2013: SC upholds death sentence of convict Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, and commutes death sentence of 10 convicts to life term. Life imprisonment of 16 out of 18 convicts also upheld. Sanjay Dutt also convicted to 5 years of jail.

May 16, 2013: Sanjay Dutt surrenders to Mumbai police.

December 2014: Sanjay Dutt given furlough.

February 2016: Sanjay Dutt released from Yerwada jail.

September 9, 2017: A special TADA court pronounces the punishment for six convicts. Karimullah Shaikh and Abu Salem were sentenced to life imprisonment, Riyaz Ahmed Siddiqui to 10 years in prison and Tahir Merchant and Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan to death. Abdul Qayoom acquitted.

Courtesy: ANI