15 years since blasts shook Mumbai in 1993

March 11th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by admin  


Mumbai, March 11 (IANS) Wednesday will mark the end of 15 long years since the March 12, 1993 serial blasts shook the country’s commercial capital city Mumbai, left over 250 dead and led to varying jail terms of 100 people, including cine star Sanjay Dutt. India suffered one of the most powerful terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 257 persons and injured 1400 others in March 1993. Within a span of two hours, 13 bombs exploded, pock-marking key areas and sensitive places of the city.

The targets were the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building, three five-star hotels, the Air India building, Plaza cinema theatre in Dadar, central Mumbai, the regional passport office, the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar and other places.

Grenades were hurled inside the Sahar international airport, and Koliwada the fisherman’s colony in Mahim, a western suburb of Mumbai. Several days’ later, unexploded car bombs were found in Mumbai.

Islamic terrorist groups based in Pakistan were suspected to be responsible for bombings but later evidence pointed to the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, who is yet wanted by the authorities here.

The Mumbai police and then the CBI named 123 persons as accused in the case, which included Mushtaq Memon alias Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, extradited gangster Abu Salem and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

A special court under the Terrorist and Anti-Disruptive Practices Act (TADA) was established to run the trials. Justice J.N. Patel, currently a judge of the Bombay High Court, commenced the case but later Judge Pramod Kode took over.

Judge Kode started delivering the verdicts in the case in May last year and completed the process within two months. Of the 123 accused, 100 were convicted and 23 were acquitted.

The 100 people convicted were given various sentences, from death penalty to rigorous imprisonment. Sanjay Dutt was also convicted by the TADA court under the Arms Act and sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Dutt was convicted for possessing three AK-56 rifles, which he had procured from Abu Salem. Dutt in his defence stated that he took the rifles to protect his family which was being threatened for relief work in the 1992 riots of Mumbai.

Eight members of Tiger Memon’s family were accused in the case. Four were convicted and three acquitted, while one died. The three acquitted are Hanifa Memon, matriarch of the Memon family, Suleiman Memon, brother of prime accused Tiger Memon, and Raheen Memon, wife of another accused Yakub Memon.

Yakub Memon, Essa Memon, Yusuf Memon and Rubina Memon, Suleiman’s wife were convicted. While Yakub was sentenced to death, Essa and Yusuf were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The other accused who have been acquitted are Devidas Ghule, Mohammad Mansoor Ahmed, Ashfaq Havaldar, Moinuddin Abdul Qadar, Shakeel Shahabuddin Shaikh, Anant Bhoir, Fasal Rehman Abdul Khan, Ismail Patel, Krishna Mokal, Krishna Pingle, Manohar More, Mansoor Ahmed Qureshi, Ruksana Zariwala, Ismail Qadri, Shaikh Babulal Kasam Shaikh, Sultan-e-Romgul, Ajay Marwah, Abdul Aziz Qadar, Mohammed Iqbal Ibrahim and Mohammed Ibrahim Khan.

Advocate Farhana Shah, who appeared for almost all the 123 accused, told IANS: “It has been a long journey which is still not over for me as the court is still hearing Abu Salem’s case and several other applications filed by the convicted accused.”

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