AS ABDUL Gani Ismail Turk stood in the dock at the Special TADA Court on Tuesday, nobody would have imagined that he was facing a possible death sentence. He remained calm, with not an emotion flitting across his face, as Judge Pramod Kode pronounced him guilty of triggering the blast outside Century Bazaar on March 12, 1993.
The RDX explosion, which killed 88 and injured 159, was — and remains — the single biggest terror blast in India. After the judge finished, Turk, a Dongri resident and prime accused Tiger Memon's former driver, replied with a nonchalant "Jee saahab (Yes, sir)" and strolled back to the bench to chat with the other accused.
The judge held Turk guilty of conspiring with other accused and planting the explosives. He was also found guilty of filling RDX in vehicles at the Al Hussaini building at Mahim, where Memon and his family lived, on the eve of the blasts and of taking part in the landing of arms at Shekadi in Ratnagiri.
Turk is the eighth person to be held guilty in the serial-blasts case. The judge accepted the evidence given by the only witness and also Turk's confession.
The charge of Turk undergoing arms training at Snadheri and Bhor Ghat, however, could not be proved. The court also acquitted Turk of the charge of attending pre-blast meetings at the homes of accused Mubina Bhiwandiwala and Memon.
The judge said as per the evidence and confessions of the co-accused, Turk was made to stand outside during the meetings. According to Turk’s confession, he was introduced to Memon by one Razzak Amrolia.
Turk met Amrolia while he was working as a driver in Saudi Arabia in 1985. Turk had said that on the instructions of Shafi, an aide of Memon, he parked an RDX-laden jeep opposite the passport office around noon on March 12, 1993 and went home. At 2.45 p.m., the jeep exploded.