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CBI seeks death for Memons

CBI says the brutal nature of Memons' crime deserves nothing less than capital punishment.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 03:50 IST

The special court hearing the 1993 blasts case devoted on Friday to arguments for sentencing of the four members of the Memon family, with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) pressing for death penalty and the defence pleading for leniency.

CBI lawyer C Sharma demanded that capital punishment be awarded to all four Memons - Essa, Yakub, Rubina and Yusuf - terming it as the "rarest of rare cases".

The four were held guilty Wednesday under various charges, including conspiracy, murder, waging war against the state as well as under sections of the Explosives Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The minimum sentence is five years and the maximum death. Sharma told the special court of Judge PD Kode: "Undue sympathy of this court towards the accused will do harm to the justice system. It was an organised mass murder. The manner of committing the murder should also be noted and taken into consideration."

Earlier, defence counsel Harshad Ponda, who replaced Majeed Memon, pleaded for minimum sentence of five years and said Rubina Memon had already spent 32 months in jail so the court should be lenient.

In case of Yakub, he argued that he was not part of the conspiracy and should be released as he had already spent 12 years behind bars.

In his brother Essa's case, Ponda said the court should take into consideration that he was suffering from a brain tumour and was in urgent need of surgery. He had also spent considerable time behind bars.

The court also heard arguments in favour of Yusuf Memon, who has been in jail for five years and reportedly suffers from schizophrenia.

After the Memons, the court would take up the case Mohammed Shoaib Ghansar, the main accused in the Zaveri Bazaar blasts that killed 17 people.

Ghansar, pronounced guilty Thursday, was charged with parking an RDX-laden scooter that exploded in the busy Zaveri Bazaar, the seventh blast in a string of gruesome attacks that rocked India's commercial capital over a space of two hours and 10 minutes on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people and injuring more than 700.