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Tada Court to deliver verdict in 1993 serial bomb blast case tomm

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Aug 9: Thirteen years after the serial bomb blasts that rocked the metropolis, the designated Tada Court will commence dictating its judgement from tomorrow, but the order may take a few months.

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA)(Prevention) Act Judge P D Kode trying the case will commence delivery of judgement in a court room housed at Arthur Road Jail in South-Central Mumbai.

The trial of 1993 serial blasts case began on June 19, 1995 and the same concluded in 2003, after the court examined 686 witnesses, two accused-turned-approvers and recorded evidences running into 14,000 pages.

The case involving a total of 123 accused, of which 86 are out on bail including Cine star Sanjay Dutt and a few members of the Memon family, who had allegedly masterminded the blast, have been directed to remain present in the court on August 10 and not to leave its jurisdiction.

At the instance of Pakistan-based intelligence agency --ISI-- the conspiracy of the blast was hatched after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya and communal violance in Mumbai.

The conspiratorial meeting took place in Dubai and executed in Mumbai and various parts of the state. The meeting was then attended by Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, Tiger Memon and other blast accused who had actively participated in committing this offence.

Ironically, the two prime accused --Dawood and Memon-- are still absconding. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier issued red-corner notices against them and they have been declared as 'proclaimed offenders'.

On the days preceding the blasts, Tiger Memon allegedly bought new vehicles to transport the explosives. The explosives stored in different parts was brought in at a garage owned by him and hidden in artificial cavaties made in the motors for the purpose at Memon's garage. The vehicles moved out the night before the blast.

The first blast hit the Bombay Stock Exchange at 1330 hrs and killed 84 people and injured more than 200. The next blast at around 1415 hrs was at Narsi Natha Street killing five and injuring 16. The third blast destroyed the Shiv Sena Bhavan at 1430 hrs, killing four and injuring 50 people. Century Bazaar at Worli was hit fifth, killing 113 and injuring 227, while next in line was Mahim Causeway where three people died and six were injured. Zaveri Bazaar was hit next killing 17 and injuring 57. It was followed by Sea Rock Hotel at Bandra where there were no casualities. The ninth blast rocked Plaza Cinema and ten people died in the incident while 37 got injured. The tenth blast was at Juhu Centaur Hotel injuring three and the eleventh blast at 1530 was at Sahar Airport with no injuries or death. The twelth blast was at Airport Centaur Hotel in which two died and eight people were injured while the last rocked the Air India Building.

It was, however, learnt during investigations that the other accused persons were sent to Pakistan via Dubai to recieve training in handling arms and ammunition. The deadly RDX and arms were landed in the coastal region of Maharashtra at Raigad.

The main accused in the case, Farukh Pawle, who is in jail since 1993 was responsible for the blasts at Stock Exchange, Shiv Sena Bhavan and Air India Building, while Asgar Yusuf Mukadam and Shahnawaz Qureshi blasted Plaza Cinema. Abdul Turk was responsible for the blast at Century, which resulted in maximum loss of lives whereas Mohammed Gansar was responsible for the blast at Zaveri Bazar. Parvez Shaikh was charged for two blasts at Katha Bazar and Sea Rock Hotel while Bashir Ahmed Ghani, Zakir Hussain Firoz Malik and Salim Shaikh were responsible for the blast at Mahim Fisherman's Colony.

Imtiyaz Gawte planted a bomb at Dhanji Street but it did not go off and Mohammed Iqbal planted one at Cross Roads resulting the same. Mushtaq Tarani planted a bomb at Centaur Hotel at Juhu.

In the initial stages of investigation, Crime Branch CID was probing the case, had also filed a chargesheet running into 10,000 pages. The probe was later handed over to CBI and on November 19, 1993, after the arrest of the accused person, CBI recorded the confessional statements of all the blast accused.

The trial began on June 30, 1995 and Judge J N Patel, trying the case was elevated to the High Court in 1996, while Judge P D Kode took over and will now dictate the order.

Incidentally, at the time of the trial, all the accused retracted their confessions except the two accused-turned-approvers who stuck to their statements and delivered evidences against the accused.

Besides, 37 accused including extradited gangster Abu Salem and Yakub Memon are in custody. Also, 23 accused in the case had been discharged, including Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Abu Asim Azmi by the TADA court.

Some of the accused died during the trial of the case, while two passed away in police custody, 10 were killed in gang wars and one was gunned down in a police encounter.

The court also examined a defence witness, a retired hand-writing expert, who reportedly delivered evidence about the hand-writing of Yakub Memon, which was later produced in the court as a vital piece of evidence.

It maybe recalled that a series of 13 bomb explosions had rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, in which 257 people died, about 700 were injured and property worth several crores was destroyed.

UNI

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