Farooq Pawale (40) was sound asleep, with his head on the lap of a policeman when the court sentenced him to death.
The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court on Wednesday sent Pawale to the gallows for charges of conspiracy, murder, planting a bomb at Air India building basement and at Lucky petrol pump near Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar.
The kurta-pyjama clad former travel agent, who has been undergoing psychiatric treatment, is on medication and has to regularly visit Thane Mental Hospital. Pawale, who was brought to the court from Arthur Road Jail, sat for sometime on the bench but could not sit for long.
After Judge PD Kode read out the charges and pronounced the verdict, Pawale did not react even when the court officer woke him up and informed him. A sleepy Pawale looked disinterested and went back to sleep.
“This man was a major operator in the entire conspiracy. Not only was he involved in the execution of the bombs, he had also surveyed the targets — Bombay Stock Exchange and Air India building — along with other accused. He was a close confidant of prime conspirator Tiger Memon. There can be no any other sentence adequate then death to him,” the court observed.
Pawale had also planted a car bomb along with one of the approvers at the Lucky petrol pump in Dadar. The approver is out on bail while Pawale has been in custody since 1993 when he was arrested.
Pawale was also convicted for the charges of undergoing training in arms and ammunition in Pakistan, participating in the landing of arms and ammunition at Shekhadi for which he has been convicted for 14 years.
However, the death sentence is subject to the confirmation by the apex court, which is likely to be decided in a month’s time.
Pawale was shifted to Yerwada Jail in Pune on Wednesday soon after the sentencing. He will be kept in solitary confinement like the other
10 accused who have been sentenced to death.
Pawale is the 11th accused to be given capital punishment.