Mumbai: September 7, 2017 is a big day in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The designated TADA court in Mumbai has pronounced the quantum of sentence against five gangsters – Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Mohammed Dossa, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Karimullah Sheikh. Mustafa Dossa died on June 28, just a few days after being convicted in the case.
The 12 blasts that rocked Mumbai, introduced the world to Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most-wanted man, and Tiger Memon. Both terrorists are absconding and are wanted for the first terrorist attack in the world where RDX was used.
A death sentence has been handed out to two and life sentences to the other three convicts in the attack that killed 257 persons and injured more than 700.
"All the seven accused tried to thwart my attempts to bring them to book. They kept filing new applications every day. It was very challenging," Special Counsel DN Salvi told News18.
The five convicts are the tier-II of the conspiracy. The tier-I, the primary group which conspired to carry out the terror attack, is still absconding. It includes Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. "The only person from tier-I who has been convicted and sent to the gallows is Yakub Memon," Salvi said.
During the earlier part of the trial, the court had convicted 100 of the 126 accused it had examined. "It had consisted mainly of the foot soldiers, except Yakub Memon," he said.
Let’s look at the five convicts and their roles in the attack:
Riyaz Siddique – 10-year jail term. Drove a car from Mumbai to Bharuch to deliver Maruti van and money to Abu Salem. Special cavities were made inside the van to fit the arms and ammunition.
Abu Salem – Extradited to India from Portugal, a treaty between both countries does not allow for death penalty or term above 25-years in jail, so the court handed him the life imprisonment. He knew of the conspiracy and participated actively in it. He bought arms and ammunition to Mumbai from Bharuch, Gujarat with the knowledge that it’ll be used for a terror attack.
Tahir Merchant – Death sentence. He sent Indian youth for weapons training to Pakistan.
Feroz Khan – Death sentence. Dossa’s gang partner, Khan, ensured landing of arms and ammunition in Dighi. Managed police and customs and after the blasts, destroyed the arms and ammunition.
Karimullah Khan – Life sentence till death. Was a close associate of prime accused Tiger Memon, who is absconding. He ensured smooth landing of RDX at Shekhadi in coastal Maharashtra.
Mustafa Dossa – Died after conviction. Order of abetment of blast was already passed and his role was mentioned in the judgment. Kingpin of the conspiracy in Mumbai. Brought all the arms and ammunition to Mumbai.