A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court on Wednesday pronounced the quantum of punishment for all those found guilty in the 2002-2003 Mumbai blasts case.
These were the first blasts in which the banned organisation Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and members of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) conspired together to conduct a series of blasts in the city.
Bomb-planter Muzammil Ansari, Wahid Ansari and Farhaan Khot were sentenced to life imprisonment. Former general secretary of SIMI Saquib Nachan, who the prosecution claimed was a key accused, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, along with Ateef Mulla, Hasib Mulla and Gulam Khotal.
Noor Malik, Anwar Ali and Muhammed Kamil were sentenced to two years in jail.
“The case is going on for 13 years for the prosecution and for defence. I have tried to appreciate both the evidence. You know this is the trial court and not the last court. Some might be pleased and some might not. I have tried to give justice,” judge PR Deshmukh observed while pronouncing the verdict.
Deshmukh had earlier convicted Nachan and nine others 13 years after three blasts that shocked the city for hatching a conspiracy in preparation of the terror acts. Three accused Adnan Mulla, Harroon Lohar and Nadeem Paloba were earlier acquitted for lack of evidence.
The three blasts that rocked the city between December 2002 to March 2003, killed 12 people and injured 139.
Mumbai blasts: A timeline
According to the Mumbai Police, the act was the handiwork of the banned organisation SIMI.
The prosecution claimed that Nachan along with Pakistani nationals and a member of the LeT, Faisal Khan, along with 23 other accused were involved in the case.
Out of the total 24 accused, five including Khan who was killed in an encounter, are dead while six other accused are still absconding.
On December 6, 2002, a bomb exploded in the McDonald’s outlet at Mumbai Central railway station where 27 persons were injured.
A month and a half later, on January 27, 2003, a bomb planted on a bicycle exploded outside the Vile Parle railway station, killing Anita Indulkar (35) and injuring 32 others.
On March 13, 2003, another bomb exploded in the ladies first-class compartment of a Karjat-bound fast train as it approached Mulund station where over 90 people were killed.