Abu, Karimullah escape noose in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts

Special court gives life sentence to main accused Abu Salem, Karimullah Khan, while sentencing Tahir Merchant, Feroze Khan to death in the blasts case; Riyaz Siddiqui gets 10 years

Clockwise from top left: Abu Salem, Karimullah Osan Khan, Riyaz Ahmed Siddiqui, Mustafa Dossa, Tahir Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan
Clockwise from top left: Abu Salem, Karimullah Osan Khan, Riyaz Ahmed Siddiqui, Mustafa Dossa, Tahir Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan

The Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) Court today, while announcing the quantum of sentence in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts gave Tahir Merchant and Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan the death penalty, sentenced gangster Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan to life imprisonment and gave Riyaz Siddiqui 10 years imprisonment. The blasts left 257 dead and 713 grievously injured.

The prosecution had sought apex punishment for Merchant, Karimulla, Feroze and Salem but the court only gave Merchant and Feroze the death penalty, while the other two got life imprisonment. Salem and Karimulla have also been fined R2 lakh each.

A series of 12 well-timed bombs ripped through iconic, commercial and crowded spots across the city on March 12, 1993, between 1.29 pm and 3.40 pm – a day often dubbed Black Friday. In addition to the numerous dead and injured, the dastardly attacks destroyed property worth R27 crore. In the first leg of the trial, that concluded in 2007, the court convicted 100 accused and acquitted 23.

On June 16, special TADA court judge GA Sanap had convicted the five accused. The accused were charged under relevant sections of the stringent TADA Act read with the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Explosive Act, Explosive Substance Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The court had acquitted Abdul Karim Shaikh in the case.

A few days after the judgment, special CBI counsel Deepak Salvi sought death sentence for Dossa, Feroz, Karimulla and Tahir.

However, few days later, on June 28, Dossa died at JJ Hospital, where he was admitted following high fever and hypertension.

The same TADA court earlier had a trial from the year 1995 to 2006, in which judge Pramod Kode convicted 100 and acquitted 23 accused.

The court had awarded 12 death sentences and 20 lifers in the case. On March 21, 2013, SC upheld the death sentence of convict Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, and he was hanged in July 2015.

Sanjay Dutt, who was convicted under the Arms Act, was sentenced to five years in jail.

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