Thirteen years after the serial bomb blasts rocked the metropolis, a Tada court is all set to deliver the final verdict on September 12 after one of the longest trials in Indian judicial history.
The last hurdle of extradited gangster Abu Salem's plea pending before the Apex Court was cleared as the petition was withdrawn on September 8.
Salem had challenged the separation of his trial from the other blast accused in the Apex Court.
Though the Tada Court began dictating its order on August 10, legal experts felt that the final verdict would get delayed because of the don's pending plea. However, the Tada Court had then fixed September 12 as the date to deliver its final verdict.
The Supreme Court had last week heard Salem's plea and fixed the next hearing on September 18 but Salem withdrew the petition submitting that the separation would not affect his case.
But on August 10, the same issue of the separation of Salem's trial was raised before the TADA court seeking adjournment for delivering of the order on the grounds that the don's plea was pending before the High Court. The Court had however, turned down the request made by some of the lawyers and observed that though the plea was pending in the said court, no restraint had been imposed for delivering its verdict.
Later the High Court turned down Salem's plea on the grounds that the right authority for the said application was the Apex Court.
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) (Prevention) Act Judge PD Kode trying the case will deliver the judgement in a court room housed at Arthur Road Jail in South-Central Mumbai.
The trial of 1993 serial blasts case began on June 30, 1995 and concluded in 2003, after the court examined 686 witnesses, two accused-turned-approvers and recorded evidence running into 14,000 pages.
A total of 123 accused, of which 86 are out on bail including Cine star Sanjay Dutt and a few members of the Memon family, who had allegedly masterminded the blast, have been directed to remain present in the court on August 10 and not to leave its jurisdiction.
A series of 13 bomb explosions had rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, in which 257 people died, about 700 were injured and property worth several crores was destroyed.
At the instance of Pakistan-based intelligence agency—ISI—the conspiracy of the blasts was hatched after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya and communal violence in Mumbai.
The conspiratorial meeting took place in Dubai and the plan was executed in Mumbai and various parts of the state. The meeting was attended by Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Tiger Memon and other blast accused who had actively participated in committing this offence. The two prime accused—Dawood and Memon—are still absconding. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier issued red-corner notices against them and they have been declared as 'proclaimed offenders'.