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Six years on, judgment day

india Updated: Jul 27, 2009 01:21 IST
Vignesh Iyer

Six years after twin blasts at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar killed 53 people and injured at least 150, the special Prevention Of Terrorism Act (POTA) court is likely to pronounce its verdict in the case on Monday.

This verdict will be the second in a bomb blast case after the 1993 serial blasts case. The prosecution has examined 104 witnesses to build up its case.

Three accused — Sayeed Mohammad Hanif (46), his wife Fehmida (45), Ashrat Ansari (32) — are charged under Prevention of Terrorism Act and sections of Indian Penal Code. Another accused, Jahid Patni (32), turned approver and got bail.

Hanif’s daughter, Farheen who was then a minor, was also arrested. The court later discharged her for lack of evidence.

The chargesheet, filed in February 2004, named six people for conspiring with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) to strike terror in the country through serial blasts in the city — the blast in a BEST bus at Ghatkopar on July 28, 2003 and the Gateway and Zaveri Bazar blasts of August 25, 2003.

It also included seizure of explosives on December 2, 2002, from SEEPZ, Andheri (E).

The chargesheet revealed that the conspiracy to trigger blasts was hatched by the LeT in Dubai at a meeting attended by at least seven Pakistanis, all of who are absconding.

As per the chargesheet, co-accused Nasir was hired by LeT to recruit others. Nasir and Hanif assembled bombs. Nasir died in an encounter a few days after the blasts.

Two other accused, Rizwan Ladoowala and Mohammad Batterywala, were discharged in November 2008 after the Supreme Court upheld the POTA review committee’s order discharging them from the provisions of the Act.

The state government had challenged the order in the Bombay High Court. The case is still pending.