The Bombay high court on Friday upheld the death sentence of three members of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), including a couple, convicted for the 2003 Mumbai twin-bomb blasts that had killed 52 and injured 184.
Two other accused, Mohammed Hasan Batterywala and Mohammed Ansari Ladoowala, who had been discharged by the trial court, would, however, now face trial under the relatively softer provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the HC ruled. The court directed them to appear before the trial court in four weeks.
In the 477-page judgment, the division bench of justice AM Khanvilkar and justice PD Kode upheld the August 2009 verdict of the special Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) court. “The appeals filed by the accused (against their sentence) are dismissed... Their death sentence is upheld as it is,” the court said.
Ashraf Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43) had been held guilty of planting bombs in two taxis that had exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in south Mumbai on August 25, 2003. The POTA court had awarded them death sentence on August 6, 2009.
All three have been charged with perpetrating terror, murder and criminal conspiracy.
The bench stayed the death sentence for eight weeks to allow them to file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The three accused, however, showed no emotions as they watched the court proceedings through video conferencing.