Court to decide the fate of seven accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast case

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A special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA) court will on Friday pronounce its judgment on the trial against the seven accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast case. These are the second group of accused persons who weren’t persecuted with the previous 100 accused including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

Extradited gangsters Abu Salem, Mustafa Dosa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum are facing trial in the case. The trial of the said seven persons was kept separate as they were arrested later.

Earlier, the court did not convict any of the accused in the case for waging a war against the nation; however, special public prosecutor Deepak Salve argued before the court that these blasts were tantamount to war against the nation. He claimed that Pakistan had sponsored the bombings and hence, the accused should be convicted for waging a war against the nation.

On March 12, 1993, Mumbai city witnessed a terror attack when a series of 12 bomb explosions took place one after another in about a span of two hours. The blasts took place at Bombay Stock Exchange, Katha Bazaar, Lucky petrol pump near Sena Bhavan, opposite Passport office near Century Bazaar, Fishermen’s colony at Mahim Causeway, at the basement of Air India Building, Zaveri Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, Plaza Theatre, Centaur Hotel (Juhu), Sahar Airport (Bay no.54) and Centaur Hotel (near airport).

In the blast 257 people were found dead, 713 seriously injured and properties worth `27 crore were destroyed. In the first set of the trial that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 people were acquitted.

The court, in all, recorded statements of around 750 prosecution witnesses and 50 defence witnesses against the seven accused. Three accused including Salem had confessed to their crime during investigations carried out by the CBI over the years into the blasts case.

Though the hearing in the case began in 2007, it was delayed as three petitions were pending with the Supreme Court, one each filed by Dossa and Salem, and another by CBI. The trial resumed in 2012 and concluded this March.