The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday asked the special court probing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts to award maximum sentences to the 100 guilty, including death for 44 convicted of criminal conspiracy to commit murders and terror acts.
The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) judge Pramod Kode on Thursday began hearing arguments for quantum of sentencing amid heavy police deployment within and outside the court premises housed in the high-security Arthur Road Jail.
Opening arguments were by CBI counsel N Natarajan, who has flown in from Delhi. The CBI, which sought maximum punishment for the accused, concluded its arguments on Thursday itself and defence counsel would present their case on February 23.
The 100 found guilty for their involvement in the March 12, 1993 blasts - in which 257 people were killed - have been divided into three categories.
The first category comprises 47 held guilty under the stringent TADA for criminal conspiracy and all those who planted the bombs at the 12 locations. The CBI demanded death for 44 in this category and life imprisonment for three - a woman and two who are sick.
The second category consists of the 44 held guilty for committing preparatory acts and for facilitating terror acts before the bombings, including weapons training and smuggling of arms, ammunitions and explosives.
While asking for life imprisonment for all 44, the CBI left the case of two women amongst them to the court to decide.
"The third category includes nine accused guilty under the Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons and the Customs Act for allowing illegal entry and transportation of arms and RDX smuggled into the country by the blast masterminds," said CBI counsel and special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
The investigating agency said four of those convicted under the Arms Act be given the maximum sentence of 10 years. The other five, guilty under the Customs Act, should be given three years, counsel said.
Amongst those guilty under the Arms Act is actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been given time till February 20 to surrender to the court.
"Submissions regarding the punishment for Sanjay Dutt and the guilty Memon family members are already over," Nikam explained.