2002-03 Mumbai Blasts: Quantum of punishment for 10 today

State seeks death penalty for Muzammil Ansari, life term for Nachan and three other convicts

| Mumbai | Updated: April 6, 2016 1:00 pm
Muzammil Ansari, mumbai blast Muzammil Ansari , mumbai blasts case, 2003 mumbai blasts, mumbai news, india news, mumbai blasts convicts, mumbai blasts news, Each man was questioned by Ansari’s lawyer Sharif Shaikh for at least fifteen minutes. Each recalled how during their stint in Thane Jail, Ansari had helped many prisoners get an education.

THE Maharashtra government has sought death sentence for Muzammil Ansari for his involvement in the 2002-03 Mumbai blasts. Ansari was convicted last week by the special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court for being part of the conspiracy and planting the bombs at three locations.

Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian said her argument before the court would be ‘society-centric’, seeking justice for the aggrieved victims of the blasts.

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“Those who have suffered because of the blasts, the victims and their families…the court should not lose sight of them when deciding on punishment for the accused. Many victims, including those who suffered permanent hearing loss, their human rights too cannot be overlooked,” Salian argued on Tuesday.

She said Ansari had been convicted by the court on various charges, including murder, for the 12 lives lost in the three bomb blasts in Mumbai, which deserved the death penalty.

“As a person, I may be against death penalty, but representing the state of Maharashtra, I seek death which is a provision available in the law book. The offence committed by the accused is a terrorist act,” Salian said before the court.

Apart from death for Ansari, Salian sought life imprisonment for prime accused Saquib Nachan and three more convicts Gulam Khotal, Farhaan Khot and Wahid Ansari.

She argued that though Nachan, Ateef Mulla and Haseeb Mulla were convicted on similar charges, including POTA, and under the Arms Act for possessing a AK-56 rifle, Nachan’s previous conviction and other pending cases were aggravating circumstances against him.

Salian said the court should use its discretion in deciding the punishment for Ateef and Haseeb, which could be anywhere between 10 years and life imprisonment.

Nachan, who has been representing himself in court, said his previous conviction when he served a 10-year imprisonment, could not be considered an “aggravating circumstance”. Nachan also produced before the court a document furthering his argument, which was shown by him only to the judge.

Last week, the special POTA court had convicted 10 men for the blasts that occurred between 2002 and 2003 at three locations in Mumbai.
Three of these convicts — Anwar Ali, Noor Mohammed and Mohammed Kamil — were found guilty only under certain sections of the Arms Act that attract a maximum punishment of not more than three years.

They have already served eight years in prison before receiving bail and would therefore be released. Three others were acquitted in the case.

On Monday, defence lawyer Sharif Shaikh had argued against death penalty to Ansari.

After the conclusion of arguments, special POTA Judge P R Deshmukh said the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment would be done Wednesday.

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