MUMBAI – A special court in India sentenced two convicts of 1993 Mumbai blasts to death and two others to life in jail on Thursday.
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Firoz Khan and Tahir Merchant were sentenced to death while Karimullah Khan and Abu Salem were sentenced to concurrent life sentences on two separate counts each.
A fifth convict Riyaz Siddiqui, who had been found not guilty of conspiracy, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court announced the verdict after twenty-four years.
The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had sought death for Feroz, Merchant and Karimullah while seeking life for Salem and Siddiqui.
Another convict, Mustafa Dossa, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in June and so the case against him was subsequently abated.
On March 12, 1993, India’s financial capital witnessed its first serial bomb explosions, with 12 devices exploding between 1.30 pm and 3.40 pm killing 257 people.
The first bomb went off at the Bombay Stock Exchange. The other spots included Katha Bazaar, Lucky Petrol Pump near Sena Bhavan in Dadar, opposite the passport office near Century Bazaar in Worli, fishermen’s colony in Mahim, the basement of the Air India building in Nariman Point, Zaveri Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock in Bandra, Plaza Cinema in Dadar and Centaur Hotel in Juhu.
The CBI claimed that the blasts were planned and executed as retaliation to the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya in December 1992 and the subsequent communal violence in Mumbai.