ARGUING for the quantum of punishment in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts cases, special CBI counsel Deepak Salvi Friday cited the “guidelines” issued by the Supreme Court while deciding the appeal against conviction by Yakub Memon and others in 2013. While deciding the cases of the first set of accused in the blasts, the SC had, in 2013, commuted the death sentence of 10 convicts to life imprisonment, while confirming it for Yakub Memon, brother of main conspirator Tiger Memon.
The special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court is currently hearing arguments on the punishment to be awarded to the second set of convicts — Mustafa Dossa, Feroz Khan, Taher Merchant, Karimulla Khan, Abu Salem and Riyaz Siddiqui. The 1993 blasts had killed 257 people and injured 713.
Salvi argued that when deciding on the sentence, the court must take into account the role played by each convict. “The court has to determine whether a particular convict is a mastermind, whether he could have averted the blasts and his degree of responsibility,” he said, citing the SC judgment. The special counsel further submitted that the SC had made a distinction between the convicts, observing that Memon, as the younger brother of the main conspirator Tiger, was in a “dominating position” in the conspiracy.
The SC had said Memon and all the absconding accused, including Tiger, Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim, Mohammed Dossa and others, were ‘archers’ and the rest were ‘arrows’ who were mere ‘subservient subordinates’. Dossa was later arrested. Memon was hanged on July 30, 2015.
Salvi concluded for the day by stating that he would argue on the roles played by the six convicts to seek punishment for them. Salvi had earlier submitted that he would seek the maximum punishment for all convicts. While five of the men, except Siddiqui, face the death penalty, Salem may dodge capital punishment under the extradition Act. Salem was extradited from Portugal and his appeal filed before the European Court of Human Rights on January 20 was responded to by the Portuguese authorities on March 3.
“The Portuguese authorities continue to approach the Indian authorities in order to ensure that the conditions of extradition, and in particular the diplomatic guarantees given by the Indian authorities are respected,” a translation of the response filed by the Portuguese government says.
The CBI is likely to conclude its arguments on June 27, after which each of the six convicts will make submissions on the quantum of punishment.