September 12 is the date fixed by special TADA court to pronounce judgment against the 123 accused, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, in the serial bomb blasts case of 1993.
Designated TADA court Judge PD Kode (hearing the case) commenced delivery of the verdict in the trial, 13 years after serial blasts claimed 257 lives and left 713 injured. Proceedings began on Thursday morning.
All the accused were present in the court except Hanifa Memon (mother of key conspirator Tiger Memon, who is out on bail) and accused Dawood Phanse alias Taklya, both of whom sought exemption on medical grounds.
Defence lawyer Farhana Shah pointed out to the court that accused Abu Salem had filed a petition in Bombay High Court challenging the TADA court's order of separating his trial from that of the other accused.
Shah added that if the high court stays Salem’s separation of trial, it might adversely affect the judgement. However, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam opposed the request on the grounds that Salem’s petition was still not admitted by the high court and no stay was levelled on TADA court from carrying on with the judgment.
Senior defence lawyer Majeed Memon also supported the prosecution and informed the court that it should not defer the judgment. He suggested, if possible, the court could adjourn the delivery of the judgment till August 14 when Salem’s application would be heard by the high court.
Judge Kode, after much deliberation, adjourned the judgment till September 12.