The sessions court on Tuesday sentenced the two men convicted in connection with the 2008 Thane blasts to 10 years in prison.
The court sentenced Ramesh Gadkari, 55, and Vikram Bhave, 29, to ten years imprisonment under various sections of the Explosives Substance Act. “The punishment should impose deterrence in the minds of criminals doing such acts,” said sessions judge NV Nhavkar, while sentencing the duo.
Further, the court held that the crime for which Gadkari and Bhave were held guilty affected society at large, thereby warranting the sentence that was imposed on them.
The duo was also sentenced under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as sections of the Explosives Act, and Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act. The court also imposed a fine of Rs9,500 each.
Arguing for maximum punishment, which is 10 years, under the Explosive substances Act, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued that a tough stance of the judiciary was needed to ensure that “a correct signal is sent to perpetrators of such crimes”.
“Blasts such as these have become commonplace in our country. We are at the mercy of people who do not know why they are doing such things,” argued Salian adding that such people were disgruntled fanatics who commit such heinous acts in the name of the religion and create destruction in the daily lives of the people only to gain pleasure.
“We are victims of series of blasts and who takes care of us? But we as citizens have to take care of ourselves. I am a citizen first and it is my duty to protect the country”, argued Salian, while praying for maximum punishment.
Defence advocate Sanjeev Punalekar argued that both accused did not have any criminal antecedents and belonged to a simple middle class family. “They have children and other family members who depend on them,” said Punalekar praying for probation for the duo, adding that their conduct in jail and court had been exemplary.
Punalekar also argued that serious charges of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 307 (attempt to murder) under IPC had been dropped. “They are not terrorists. They were angry with the producer of the play Amhi Pachpute, but they never intended to terrorise anyone,” said Punalekar. The court had acquitted four accused in the case for lack of evidence.
On June 4, 2008, a bomb exploded in the parking lot of Gadkari Rangayatan theatre in Thane, injuring seven people. On May 31, 2008, a bomb had exploded at Vishnu Bhave Auditorium in Vashi and on February 20, 2008, a bomb was found at Cineraj cinema hall in Panvel.