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HC upholds death penalty for 2003 blasts convicts

The three LeT operatives were awarded capital punishment by a special POTA court in 2009 for the twin blasts at Gateway of India, Zaveri Bazaar that claimed 52 lives

The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the death sentence of three persons including a woman who were convicted in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts case. A division bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice PD Kode had on November 12 last year reserved its judgment in the case.

 
Ashrat Ansari and Fehmida Sayed were awarded death penalty
by a POTA court in August 2009, which held them guilty of
planting bombs in two taxis that exploded at the Gateway
of India and Zaveri Bazaar



Ashrat Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43), were awarded death penalty by a special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court in August 2009, which held them guilty of planting bombs in two taxis that exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in South Mumbai on August 25, 2003, killing 52 persons.

Advocates for Ansari, Anees and Sayed have had the death sentence stayed for eight weeks in order to appeal to the apex court.

There are some amendments to the operative part of the order, which are yet to be made public. The discharge of two other persons, Mohammed Ansari and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh, following a decision by the POTA review committee, has been set aside. They will now stand trial under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Explosives Act.

According to the prosecution, the conspiracy of the terror attack was hatched in Dubai by Hanif, Ashrat and another person Nasir, who was later killed in a police encounter. Some Pakistani nationals owing allegiance to the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were behind the attack, the police had said.

The trio had been convicted under various sections of IPC, POTA, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Pakistan-based LeT had used a family for the first time to carry out blasts to avenge the attacks on a minority community during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, according to police.

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