Mumbai, March 21: In a major setback for Sanjay Dutt, the Supreme Court on Thursday, March 21 upheld TADA Court's order and delivered its verdict following which the Bollywood actor now has to spent three and half years behind the bar.
The apex court also upheld the death sentence of Yakub Memon, one of the main accused in the 1993 Bombay blasts case, but commuted the sentences of 10 other accused to life imprisonment.
The trial court had convicted all of them for the 13 bomb blasts that took place across the capital of Maharashtra on March 12, 1993.
The serial explosions claimed 257 lives (this is the official death toll but the actual figure is believed to be well over 300). As many as 129 persons were charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act but the trial court found only 100 of the accused guilty.
The Supreme Court said on Thursday that the deadly conspiracy behind the 1993 blasts was hatched by Dawood Ibrahim, head of the crime syndicate D-Company, and other accused who are now suspected to be hiding in Pakistan.
Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) gave training to the convicts in bomb making and also taught them how to handle sophisticated weapons, the apex court said. The training was given in Pakistan, the court said in its ruling.
Yakub Memon, his brother Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim and the other absconding accused in the case were the "archers" while the rest of the convicts were just "arrows" in their hands, the Supreme Court said.
The Maharashtra Police, Customs officials and the Coast Guard cannot escape blame for the Bombay blasts because the authorities did not prevent the accused from assembling and planting the bombs at different places, the court said. Incidentally, a person who had received training in Pakistan surrendered to the police three days before the Bombay blasts.
He revealed a plot to bomb several locations across India's financial capital. However, police did not believe him. Had they heeded his warning, the deadliest blasts in the country's history would perhaps have been averted.
Ready to go to jail: Sanjay Dutt
Whatever is the judgement of the court I will respect it. I want all to pray for me. God is great, said Sanjay Dutt after the Supreme Court verdict on Thursday.
Sanjay Dutt jailed, sister Priya breaks down in court
Sanjay Dutt's sister Priya Dutt, who is also an MP from Mumbai, broke down in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
SC verdict on Sanjay Dutt: Priya Dutt shattered
"I don't want to speak. I don't know what to say," a visibly upset Ms Dutt said when asked about her reaction to the court's order.
5-yr imprisonment to Sanjay Dutt, death to Menon
The Supreme Court has given a five-year jail sentence to actor Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 Bombay Blasts case. It also upheld the death sentence for Yakub Memon and commuted the death sentence of 10 others accused to life.
Facts on Bombay Blasts 1993 and Dawood Ibrahim
Bombay Blasts 1993 are believed to have been the brain child of Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI, however Dawood Ibrahim along with his underworld associates including Tiger Memon, Ayub Memon and Yakub Memon were behind the planning and their operational execution.