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One gets capital punishment, 2 sentenced to life

The special TADA court sentences Mohammed Iqbal Yusuf Sheikh to death for criminal conspiracy, reports Mustafa Plumber.
Hindustan Times | By Mustafa Plumber, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 21, 2007 04:16 AM IST

A convict in the 1993 serial blasts case escaped capital punishment on Friday when Special Judge Pramod Kode gave him and another convict life terms and sentenced a third to death.

The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) Court has so far sentenced 84 of the 100 convicted in the case; seven (including one sentenced on Friday) face the capital punishment and 16 have to serve life terms.

“His act attracts the maximum punishment, which is capital punishment. However, law has always taken due regard of persons suffering from serious diseases,” said Kode while pronouncing a life sentence for Somnath Thapa, who has lung cancer. Thapa, a former Additional Customs Collector, was sentences for charges of conspiring with absconding main accused and allowing the passage of RDX and explosives into the city.

The court observed: “This man had specific information about the consignment coming into the city but he, being a public servant, did not take any action against the offenders.” Thapa’s bail bond was cancelled and he was taken into custody.

“A life sentence is more severe than death, as capital punishment is a way of escape,” said Kode after he pronounced a life term for Bashir Khairulla.

The former electrician was sentenced for conspiring, aiding and abetting the prime conspirators.

Mohammed Iqbal Sheikh got the capital punishment for planting an RDX-laden scooter at Naigaum. The bomb did not explode. He was also charged for conspiring and piloting another convict.

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