First anniversary of 93 blast sentencing

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Mumbai, May 18 (UNI) Today marked the first anniversary of the 1993 serial blasts sentencing, making it one of the lenghtiest trials in the annals of the country's legal history.

Exactly a year ago, TADA Judge P D Kode had begun the process of sententing the 100 accused out of 123, who were found guilty. This included members of the Memon family who had masterminded the serial blast and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

Last year, on May 18, the court had sentenced five people, who had used their boats for the transportation of the RDX from high sea to the sea shore.

After the convicts had challeged the convictions in the apex court, 35 convicts including Sanjay Dutt have been granted bail.

The apex court, however, admitted the appeals filed by six out of the ten convicts, who were given the death penalty that included prime accused Yakub Memon, brother of prime accused Tiger Memon.

The apex court while granting bail to the convicts directed them to furnish surity of Rs 1,00,000. The amount was reduced to Rs 50,000 then to Rs 25,000 and ultimately settled at Rs 10,000.

Interestingly, five of the convicted who were granted bail last week are still languishing in jail as their relatives have been unable to pay the surity amount, according to advocate Farhana Shah, who represented the maximum number of blast accused at the TADA court in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court had refused to grant bail to the convicts who have been given the death penalty and life imprisonment. However, it granted bail to three convicts facing life imprisonment.

The first was dismissed Customs Collector, Somnath Thapa, who was suffering from cancer. He died while on bail. The second, Imtiaz Ghawte was granted bail as he was diagosed HIV positive. The third, Essa Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, was also given bail on neurological grounds.

The legal battle of the rest of the convicted is still on at the apex court.

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