2002-03 Mumbai triple blasts: Lawyers plead for leniency for accused

Mumbai: The lawyers of ten men, who were convicted for multiple blasts in the city during 2002 and 2003 today, sought leniency for their clients before the special POTA court here.

The court, which on March 29 convicted 10 out of 13 accused for the blasts in which 13 persons were killed, is hearing arguments on quantum of sentence.

Advocate Wahab Khan pointed out that they were held guilty under a law (Prevention of Terrorism Act) which is no longer in force.

"It is not that POTA was in force when the city was affected by terror. These days are even worse. We have seen Pathankot (terror attack) and 26/11 (2008 Mumbai terror attack). The court has held them guilty under an Act that has lapsed," he said.

Advocate Khan also said that Dr Wahid Ansari, one of the convicts, was threatened and pressurised to give confession.

Arguing for Hasib Mulla, defence lawyer Sudeep Pasbola said he did not deserve the maximum punishment under the law just because arms and ammunition were recovered at his house.

Arguing for Farhaan Khot, another convict, Pasbola said he was not a principal actor and recovery of arms and ammunitions itself didn't show his involvement. The police, in fact, could recover a large cache of arms and ammunition only due to Khot's cooperation, the lawyer said.

Seeking leniency for Atif Mulla, advocate Mubin Solkar said Mulla, with his medical knowledge, had helped cure more than 1,000 people of cancer in the last 10 years.

The court today also reserved order on two applications filed by Muzammil Ansari convicted for planting the bombs.

He has sought to undergo psychological and IQ assessment tests and to examine three witnesses.

He has claimed that his mental health deteriorated in the jail. He wants to examine Afroz Khan, an accused in another terror case, Uday Pathak, a murder accused, and a Malegaon resident named Imtiyaz Rahim. Khan and Pathak are Ansari's fellow jail inmates.

The hearing would continue tomorrow.

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