justice finally- 2003 Mumbai twin blasts case
Zaveri Bazar and Gateway of India were the places, where the explosion occurred on August 25, 2003 killing 54 people and leaving 244 injured.
i am happy that all three got the death penalty. It is a message to people who indulge in terrorism that the law will not spare them if they commit such barbarous acts .finally some justice for the loss of lives and as soon as POTA announced that the accused would be punished,people at both the places were seen distributing sweets and thronging the Mumbadevi temple at Zaveri Bazar in large numbers.
This was most awaited judgement in a terror attack case in the city since the special TADA court completed the March 12, 1993 serial blasts trial in 2007. That led to the conviction of 100 people, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.
THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR 2003 MUMBAI TWIN BLASTS
New Delhi: Six years after the twin blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar, which left 53 people dead, a special POTA Court in Mumbai has sentenced three convicted persons - Mohammed Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimida and Ashrat Shafique Ansari - to death.
The prosecution said that this was the rarest of rare case. Prosecution had asked for a death sentence for all three convicts in the last hearing, pointing out the blasts were carried out with "exceptional cruelty". The prosecution also said that the twin blasts were a gruesome crime.
After the sentencing, Special Public Prosecutor for the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Ujjwal Nikam said that 54 people lost their lives in the twin blasts.
Arguing for the death penalty, Nikam had said they intended to target foreign tourists who throng the Gateway of India and the famous Mahalaxmi Temple. However, since their vehicle developed a snag, the second blast took place in Zaveri Bazaar, the hub of the jewellery trade in the city.
"This is a significant judgement. It's because of these 'devils' that 54 persons lost their lives and another 244 were injured," Nikam, who led the prosecution case during the six-year trial, said.
He revealed that the three convicts have been sentenced under Indian penal Code Sections 302 and 307, and Explosives Substance Act.
"The conspiracy was hatched in Dubai and some Pakistani nationals were also involved. The bomb that was planted in Ghatkopar was of less intensity. That is why they planned to carry out blasts in Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India. There was also a conspiracy to carry out blasts at Mumba Devi Temple," said Nikam.
Ujjwal Nikam had said that the sentence was a "big blow to Lashakr-e-Toiba with the three accused being convicted". The three had been convicted under POTA section 3(5).
"They planned to put a bomb in a BEST bus on December 2, 2002 but it did not go off. They then put a bomb again in a BEST bus in July 2003 and two people were killed in the explosion. But their commaders allegedly told them to plan high-intensity blasts. That's how Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar blasts happened. It's the first case where a family - husband, wife and their daughter - were involved in the attack," Nikam had said.
A terror module of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit was allegedly involved in planting the powerful bombs in two cabs and triggering them by timers on August 25, 2003.
It was one of the most awaited judgement in a terrorist case after the Special TADA Court completed the March 2, 1993, serial blasts trial in 2007 which led to the conviction of 100 people, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, now a Samajwadi Party leader.
The court observed that "it was the murder charges levelled against the the three that led the court to give death penalty".
Defence lawyers -- Wahab Khan (representing Hanif), Sudesh Pasgola (Fahimida) and S. Kunjuraman (Ashrat) -- had said their clients were innocent.
"This is a baseless and meaningless judgement. There is not an iota of evidence against my client (Ashrat) to hold him guilty. I shall move the Bombay High Court," Kunjuraman said after the ruling came in.
Khan had argued that this was not "the rarest of rare cases" so it did not warrant the death penalty.
"My client had no personal grudge against any of the victims in the incidents, they were simply misguided and indoctrinated," Khan had said.
Defence had also argued that Fahmida should be given a lenient sentence as she followed the orders of her husband and that she had her children to look after but the argument was rejected by the court.
2003 Mumbai twin blasts case timeline
Mumbai: A special court in Mumbai on Monday held three people guilty for the 2003 Mumbai terror twin blasts that left 54 killed and 244 others injured.
The following is the timeline of the 2003 twin blasts case:
December 2, 2002 - Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) activists place bomb in a BEST public bus at Santacruz East Export Promotion Zone (SEEPZ), a commercial hub in Andheri East; the bomb proves a dud.
July 28, 2002 -The same LeT group puts a bomb in a BEST bus in Ghatkopar, an eastern Mumbai suburb dominated by Gujaratis. It killed two and injured 31.
August 25, 2003 - Twin blasts in Mumbai, at Gateway of India and another in Zaveri Bazar, a gold jewellery hub in south Mumbai, where mainly Gujaratis operate. Killed 54, injured 244.
September 2003 - Nazir, believed to be the twin blasts mastermind, killed in police shootout at Matunga, central Mumbai.
October 1, 2003 - Three prime accused - Mohammed Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimida, daughter Farheen - and their associate Ashrat Shafique Ansari nabbed.
October 2, 2003 - Two accomplices held, Rizwan M A Laddoowala and Mohammed Hassan Batterywala, both electricians.
June 2, 2004 - Another accused, Zahid Yusuf Patni, nabbed in October 2003 turned approver in the case. Revealed how the entire conspiracy was hatched in Dubai with him as the Chief of a LeT terror module in Mumbai called the Gujarat Revenge Force.
November 2008 - Laddoowala and Batterywala ordered by the Supreme Court to be discharged from the trial in Mumbai special court of Prevention Of Terrorist Act (POTA), for lack of evidence. Earlier, even Farheen, being a minor, had been discharged from the case before filing the charge sheet in end-2003.
July 27, 2009 - The six-year long trial finally ends in POTA court. Special Judge M R Puranik pronounces the Sayed couple and their associate Ashrat guilty.
August 4, 2009 - Sentence on verdict will be announced.
TOTAL: Eight accused, one dead, three discharged, one turned approver, three found guilty. 101 witnesses examined during trial.