Apex court suspends death penalty of Mumbai blast convictApril 4th, 2008 - 10:21 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday temporarily suspended the death sentence of Zakir Hussain Noor Mohammed Sheikh, convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Justice Aftab Alam stayed Sheikh’s death penalty while admitting his plea challenging the verdict of Mumbai’s anti-terror court that convicted him of terrorism charges.
Special Judge P.D. Kode of the special anti-terror court in Mumbai had condemned Shiekh to gallows for detonating a bomb in the Mahim fishermen’s colony in Mumbai, killing three people and injuring six.
After suspending Shiekh’s death penalty, the bench adjourned the hearing on his petition, tagging it with those of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt and other convicts of the serial terror bombings of Mumbai.
While convicting a total of 100 people for their role in the blasts, which killed 257 people, Kode had awarded death sentences to 12.
Shiekh is the third convict on death row who challenged his conviction and got his sentence stayed. A higher court suspends the death sentence as a routine while admitting a person’s appeal against the conviction.
On Jan 28, the apex court suspended the death penalty of fugitive underworld don Tiger Memon’s accountant brother Yakub. He was sentenced to death for hatching the conspiracy, funding the terror attack and supplying weapons for it.
Similarly, the apex court Feb 21 suspended the death sentence of yet another convict, Mohammed Shoaib Ghansar.
Ghansar was found guilty of parking an explosives-laden scooter opposite the Bombay Stock Exchange. The blast killed 17 people and maimed 57 others.
Besides Yakub Memon, Ghansar and Sheikh, the others on the death row in the blasts case include Abdul Ghani Turk, Mushtaq Musa Tarani, Pervez Sheikh, Asgar Mukadam, Shahnawaz Qureshi, Iqbal Yusuf Shaikh and Feroz Malik.
The Supreme Court is Monday slated to hear the pleas of two more convicts given death sentences by Kode. They are Mohammed Mushtaq Moosa Tarani and Asgar Yusuf Mukadam.
Tarani was sentenced to death for planting an RDX-loaded scooter in Shaikh Memon Street that did not explode. He had also planted a bomb at Hotel Centaur, though the explosion did not cause any casualties.
Mukadam was awarded the death penalty for planting an RDX-laden Maruti van at Plaza cinema in Mumbai. The explosion had killed 10 and injured 36.