1993 blasts: Oldest accused pleads leniency

Dawood Phanse, on Monday admitted his guilt but pleaded for leniency citing his age and failing health.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 21:27 IST

The oldest of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Dawood Phanse, on Monday admitted his guilt but pleaded for leniency citing his age and failing health.

The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court on Friday accepted Phanse's confession that he had gone to Dubai to attend a meeting convened by mobster Dawood Ibrahim.

That was the first judicial finding on the involvement of the underworld don in the March 12, 1993 blasts in the city that killed 257 people.

Phanse alias "Taklya" for his bald head, an 82-year-old landing agent, was on Friday found guilty of conspiracy, attending a meeting with Dawood and blast prime accused Tiger Memon in Dubai and organising landing of arms, ammunition and RDX along the Shekhadi coast in Raigad district of the Konkan region of Maharashtra on February 3 and 7, 1993.

Phanse's co-accused Abdul Gafoor Parkar alias Dadabhai was also found guilty of organising landing of arms and ammunition at the Shekhadi coast on those two days.

On Monday, Phanse, who was given a chair to sit while his statement was being recorded to decide on the quantum of punishment, said he had two wives, aged 70 and 65 years, and a 35-year-old unmarried daughter to look after.

"I had attended that meeting with Dawood and Tiger Memon in Dubai. But it was a mistake and I realise it now," he admitted.

Unable to walk without support, Phanse was brought to the court by his son Safaris Phanse, also an accused in the case. Phanse cited his ill health and pointed out that his conduct during his imprisonment had been good.

Parkar, 75, told the court on Monday: "I accept my mistake and I apologise for it."

He begged for lesser punishment and said he wanted to die at home instead of a jail.

Parkar also cited ill health to request leniency. He said that he had a 32-year-old unmarried daughter to care for.

"I have never killed even an ant in my life," he said, adding that he had in the past worked as an informer for government departments like Customs and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.

The TADA court this month began the process of delivering verdicts in the Mumbai blasts case. Eleven people have been convicted so far.

First Published: Sep 25, 2006 21:27 IST