10 blast accused on death row get their 'lives' back

While commuting the death sentences of 10 accused in the 1993 Bombay blasts case to life imprisonment yesterday, the Supreme Court observed that but for the blasts’ masterminds, the plan would never have seen the light of day. “If we do lift the veil, it is actually the masterminds’ strategy, which was executed by subservient minions,” the bench observed. The masterminds are Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, described in the judgment as “absconding accused”.

“All 10 appellants belong to lower strata of society, most of whom don’t even have any regular job for their livelihood. Their personal lives were relatively moderate before this incident. These appellants have fallen prey to the ulterior motive of the conspirators for accomplishing their hidden motives, to spread terror among people.”

The 10 accused to have their sentences commuted are Zakir Hussain Noor Mohammed Shaikh, Abdul Khan alias Yakub Khan Akthar Khan, Firoz alias Akram Amani Malik, Mohammed Mushtaq Moosa Tarani, Asgar Yusuf Mukadam, Shahnawaz Abdul Kadar Qureshi, Mohammed Shoaib Mohammed Kasam Ghansar, Parvez Nazir Ahmed Shaikh and Mohammed Farooq Mohammed Yusuf Pawale.

Their sentences were commuted from death to life imprisonment, taking into account their ailing health, and the remorse they showed after the blasts. Two of them even experienced ‘psychiatric problems’ after the blasts. Another had even helped out in relief camps set up after the riots. Asgar Yusuf Mukadam, Tiger Memon’s accountant, even completed his graduation while in prison.

The ten convicts will now have to work in prison
While the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of the 10 convicted in the 1993 blasts case to life, the division bench of Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan withheld the capital punishment awarded to Yakub Memon. This means that he would continue to be kept in the special cell for convicts awarded capital punishment. And unlike the other 10, who are now expected to engage in labour after being shifted to regular jails, Memon does not have to, as he will proceed for the gallows. Memon and the others who had been awarded capital punishment were lodged in the Nagpur Central Jail. Following the commutation, the prison department has dislodged the 10 convicts from the special cells and segregated them to various central prisons in the state. They will have to work for the duration of their jail term, and will be entitled to get paid as per prison norms. They will also be allowed now to meet their families once a month. 

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