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'93 blasts case: Six pronounced guilty

india Updated: Dec 04, 2006 19:38 IST
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The special TADA court on Monday convicted six Tiger Memon aides in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case on charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting conspirators in committing terrorist acts.

With today's verdict, the TADA court completed pronouncing the judgment against all the 123 accused involved in the serial blasts case.

The six convicted were involved in lobbying hand grenades on residents of the Mahim fishermen colony, which left three people killed and 55 others injured.

Of the total number of people accused, the court has held 100 of them guilty and acquitted 23 others either for lack of evidence or the benefit of doubt.

Judge Pramod Kode on Monday convicted Bashir Ahmed Usman Ghani Khairullah, Zakir Hussain Noor Mohd Shaikh, Abdul Khan, Feroze Amani Malik, Moin Querishi and Salim Rahim Shaikh.

All the accused were found guilty of conspiracy and aiding and abetting conspirators in committing terrorist acts.

The court held the six accused guilty on the basis of their confessional statements and that of other co-accused and also on other corroborative evidence and evidence of one of the approver.

All the six accused have been in custody for the last 13 years except Feroz Mallik, who was recently granted interim relief on medical grounds.

All the six convicts had traveled in a car to the fishermen's colony from the Al-Hussaini building with hand grenades and fire arms at the instance of absconding accused Tiger Memon and other associates, and lobbed hand grenades and opened fire at the residents of the colony who were mostly Hindus.

Most of the accused did not show any emotions when pronounced guilty as they have remained in custody.

The first in the dock was Bashir, an electrician by profession, who did not lobby the hand grenades at the colony and fled away with them to his house.

Bashir is the same accused who had in 2002 sent a Diwali greeting card to Judge Kode, which has been framed and kept inside the court room house in the Arthur Road jail.

He was convicted for the charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting conspirators and also undergoing training of arms ammunition at Sandheri in Raigad and attending a pre-blast meeting. He was however, acquitted of lobbying hand grenades as he did not throw them and fled away from the scene.

The next in the dock was accused Zakir Hussain Shaikh, who was unemployed at the time of arrest. He was convicted on charges of conspiracy and lobbying hand grenades.

Shaikh, after being pronounced guilty, wanted to hand over a book titled Prevention of Terrorism or Religious Intolerance, which contains stories of torture and terror as told by the victims. The book includes the stories of Shaikh and another convict Salim Durrani. Judge Kode directed him to submit it on Tuesday when his final statement would be recorded on the quantum of sentence.

Third one to step in the dock was Abdul Akhtar Khan, a clothes' vendor and a resident of Bandra reclamation. It is alleged that another convict Shahnawaz Qureshi involved him into the conspiracy and sent him to Pakistan for training in arms and ammunition and lobbying of hand grenades at Mahim.

Fourth in the dock was Feroz Mallik, a resident of Pathanwadi in Malad, who was unemployed at the time of arrest in 1993.

Mallik comes from a well-to-do family and was involved into the conspiracy through one of his friends not involved in the case. Mallik was given interim bail to attend to his ailing mother, but was taken into custody soon after being pronounced guilty.

The fifth person to be convicted was Moin Qureshi, who was 17 years and three months old at the time of arrest.

He had recently claimed that he should be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, but the court had rejected the application, stating that at the time of his arrest he was not a minor as per the rules prevailing then.

The last person to be in the dock was Salim Rahim Shaikh, a resident of Mahim who used to work as a private driver till he was hired by Tiger Memon and sent to Pakistan for training in arms and ammunition. He was also convicted for driving the car carrying the convicts to Mahim fishermen colony.

Judge Kode has completed the pronouncement of judgment against the 123 accused in the original trial, which commenced on June 30, 1995.

The TADA court examined 636 witnesses and two accused-turned-approvers and recorded evidences running into about 14,000 pages. The two accused-turned approvers reportedly delivered evidence against the co-accused in the case.

The CBI recorded 89 confessional statements of the accused. Of the 123 accused, six were women.

Absconding accused Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon masterminded the blasts in the aftermath of the demolition of Babri Masjid. Accordingly, 12 blasts rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people and leaving 700 others injured. Both the conspirators and their associates are presently suspected to be in Pakistan.

Email Mustafa Plumber: mustafa .plumber@hindustantimes.com

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