A Mumbai court will on Tuesday pronounce judgement in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, which left 257 people dead.
The verdict, which was to be announced on August 10 by Judge PD Kode, was put off after defence lawyer Farhana Shah argued that prime accused Abu Salem had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the TADA - Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act - court's order separating his trial from that of the other accused.
A series of 13 powerful blasts had ripped through the city on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people and injuring 713.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had accused 198 people in this connection. Of these, 29 were discharged due to lack of evidence and 29 others, including prime accused Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and Mohammed Dossa, were shown as absconding.
Of the remaining 140 accused, 11 died during the trial while two others, Abu Asim Azmi and Amjad Mehr Baksh, were discharged by the Supreme Court. Another accused, Riaz Khatri jumped bail on September 23, 1996, and is absconding.
The trial of three more accused, Abu Salem, Riaz Siddiqui and Mustaffa Dossa, has been separated leaving 123 accused to face the trial in the main case, according to special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
The CBI in its charge sheet has stated that the blasts were masterminded by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim with the help of his lieutenants Tiger Memon and Mohammed Dossa, allegedly at the instance of Pakistan's intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence, to avenge the December 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid.
According to the CBI, the perpetrators of the serial blasts had intended to destroy the nerve centre of the country's financial hub.
The selection of the bombing sites - namely Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India building, Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Centaur, Juhu, Hotel Centaur, airport and busy commercial areas of Zaveri Bazaar, Katha Bazaar and Century Bazaar - was indicative of this strategy, the CBI said.