The man who supplied Sanjay Dutt an AK-47 was awarded nine years’ rigorous imprisonment on Friday. The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court also fined Sameer Hingora, Dutt’s close friend and film producer, Rs 2 lakh. Special Judge Pramod Kode also sentenced four other convicts on Friday.
Judge Kode observed that Hingora had connections with gangster Anees Ibrahim much before the blasts occurred. Hingora had direct access to Anees and it was at his behest that Hingora, who is the owner of Magnum Video, distributed arms and ammunition to Dutt and others.
However, his role did not extend to committing terrorist acts by executing the serial blasts. The court also considered the heart ailments that Hingora suffers from and therefore awarded him a lesser punishment.
Dutt, who was present in court, looked visibly tense when Kode pronounced the sentence against Hingora, who has already spent six years in prison. The court has summoned Dutt to mark his attendance next on June 8.
The court awarded the seventh life sentence in the 1993 serial blasts case to Niyaz Shaikh for his active participation in the conspiracy. He was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 25,000.
Shaikh, who was just 19 in 1993, had gone to Pakistan for training in arms and ammunition and had also attended several pre-blast meetings. He also surveyed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters. However, the court observed that Shaikh was not involved in the execution of the blasts.
A stunned Shaikh looked on as the Judge Kode announced his sentence. He later told mediapersons: "Sab Allah ki marzi hai (Everything happens according to God’s will)".
The other three who were sentenced included Mohammed Etheshyam Shaikh, Farooq Motorwala and Ghulam Hafiz Shaikh.
Etheshyam, a close aide of gangster Ejaz Pathan, received 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 for his role in the landing and transportation of arms and ammunition in Raigad. He had visited Dubai to transit to Pakistan for arms training, but that never happened.
Interestingly, Etheshyam has already spent more than 10 years in custody. He will be released after he pays the fine amount.
Motorwala was sentenced to 13 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 25,000 for visiting Dubai on a fictitious passport and initiating other convicts into the conspiracy. Judge Kode said: "He has already spent time in custody and hope that he does not recruit anymore people after being released."
Hafiz was sentenced to eight years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 25,000 for facilitating the landing and transportation of arms and ammunition.
So far, the TADA court has sentenced 63 of the 100 found guilty last year in the serial blasts case.