A special court looking into the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which on Thursday begins hearing arguments on quantum of sentencing amid heavy security outside the complex, has divided the 100 found guilty into three categories.
Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) judge Pramod Kode ordered for heavy police deployment within and outside the court premises housed in the high-security Arthur Road Jail as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) prepared for arguments for the sentencing of 92 of the accused found guilty.
"The first category will comprise 47 accused held guilty for criminal conspiracy to commit murder and terror acts and all those who planted the bombs at the 12 locations on March 12, 1993, killing almost 300 Mumbaikars," CBI counsel and special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
CBI counsel N Natarajan, who has flown in from Delhi, would open the arguments and seek maximum punishment for the accused in this category. The argument is to be completed on Thursday itself.
Most of 47 accused held guilty under the stringent TADA acts face minimum life imprisonment to maximum capital sentence.
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.
"The third category would include 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," Nikam said.
Actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been found guilty under the Arms Act, falls in the third category. He 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.