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Accused get life term for 2002, 2003 Mumbai blasts

Courts

Courts

A Mumbai Special Court  slapped  life terms to three of the accused for the multiple bombings which took place between 2002 and 2003.

The three include prime accused Muzammil Ansari, his partners Farhan Khot and Wahid Ansari.

Four others were given 10 years jail term including Saquib Nachan, the general secretary of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Ateef Nasir Mulla, Ghulam Kotla and Hasib Zubeir Mulla.

Three convicts were given two years jail term by Special POTA Judge P.R. Deshmukh.

All the 10 accused were found guilty and and convicted by the Special Court on March 29, followed by arguments between special public prosecutor Rohini Salian and defence lawyers on the quantum of sentencing which ended on Tuesday.

Another five accused named by the investigators continue to be absconders in the case.

Linked by a common conspiracy, the three blasts occurred near McDonald’s eatery in Mumbai Central Station on December 6, 2002, in a Vile Parle market on January 27, 2003 and in a crowded ladies First Class compartment of a suburban train near Mulund on March 13, 2003, killing a total of 12 people and injuring 139 others.

In the first blast of December 6, two people had died and over 50 were injured while in the second bombing of January 27, one person was killed and 30 others were injured. Nine people were killed and 70 others were injured in the third blast of March 13.

During the trial, the prosecution contended that Nachan, along with a Pakistani, Faisal Khan – linked to terror group Lashkar-e-Tayeba – carried out the blasts along with others.

Of the 25 accused listed by police, the majority were nabbed in 2003, five died during the trial.

Nachan has been sentenced for his role in arranging the required manpower, arms and ammunition while Wahid Ansari and some absconders have been punished for making the bombs.

Muzammil Ansari and another accused, who is still absconding have been convicted and sentenced for executing the terror plot by planting bombs at the targeted locations.

The three cases – though far between and in different parts of Mumbai – were clubbed together by the court as they were linked by a common conspiracy angle.

The police had charged all the accused with murder, attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt, waging war against the nation, criminal conspiracy besides several charges under the Indian Penal Code, Railways Act, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and POTA.

Meanwhile, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (JUeM) Maharashtra, which provided legal aid to the accused, expressed happiness that the capital punishment was not awarded but said it would challenge the verdict in the Bombay High Court.

A JUeM spokesperson also urged the government to set up fast-track courts to dispose off terror-related cases within two years so that the accused, who are finally acquitted, do not spend prolonged periods in jail.

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