Justifying the death penalty granted by a trail court to the three accused in the 2003 Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar taxi blasts that killed 52 people, the division bench of the high court observed that the terror unleashed by the convicts was a well-planned retaliation to the Gujarat riots in 2002.
Taking a stern view against the accused, the bench in its 480-page judgement observed: “They must be dealt with sternly considering our finding that the accused had not committed the offence under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance but in a well-planned manner in furtherance of criminal conspiracy to destabilise the country… in retaliation to the Godhra blast incident.”
The court accepted the prosecution’s case that they have shown repentance and there is no probability of them being reformed and rehabilitated.
The judges observed that the accused, not satisfied with the their attempts at Seepz and Ghatkopar, executed serial blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India, causing the death of 54 persons, injuring 244, and damage to property worth around one crore sixty lakhs rupees, the inevitable conclusion being that it is a rarest of rare case, deserving extreme penalty.
“All the circumstances being indicative of the accused persons being coveted members of a terrorist organisation [LeT], we do not find any fault in the sentence imposed upon them by the trial court,” the judges concluded.