India Upholds Death Verdict Over 1993 Mumbai Blasts
The Supreme Court of India upheld the death sentence to Yakub Abdul Razak Memon in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The court ruled that the younger brother of Tiger Memon was the one of the main conspirators in the serial blasts.
The Supreme Court judges slammed Pakistan for aiding and abetting the acts of terrorism in infringement of international obligation as a member of United Nations.
The terror strike on March 12, 1993, wreaked havoc in India’s financial capital with twelve coordinated blasts in a span of two hours; the attack killed 257 people while injuring 713 and damaged property worth Rs. 30 crore ($6 million).
According to India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, the fugitive don, Dawood Ibrahim, allegedly residing in Pakistan, and Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, were the engineers of the terror attack (based on statements of accused), while the Memon brothers were the main conspirators.
Yakub is currently serving the sentence in jail, while his brother is believed to be in Pakistan alongside Dawood.
The death sentences for 11 accused in the case were commuted to life imprisonments as they were considered “mere instruments in the hands of the principal perpetuators.” One of them had already died while incarcerated. The court also upheld life sentences for 20 others.
The most high profile in the accused list is the Indian movie star, Sanjay Dutt, who was sentenced to five years under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons, which were part of the consignment of weapons brought for the terror attacks. He has already completed eighteen months locked up. Sanjay has maintained that he bought the weapons as a personal protection for his family.
The court, also accused Mumbai police, customs department officials and coast guards for failing to check the transportation of sophisticated weapons and RDX into India. Some officials were accused of abetting the attacks by helping in transportation of the explosives.
The TADA court (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) had convicted 100 people. Others were given varying terms of imprisonment.
The attack was carried out, apparently, to avenge the destruction of Babri Masjid, an ancient mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992, and subsequent riots in which many Muslims were killed.