The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court on Friday pronounced its judgment against gangster Mustafa Dossa, Abu Salem, Firoz Khan, Karimullah Khan and Taher Merchant, finding them guilty of conspiracy in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case. Judgment is still awaited on two others in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case today. The trial of these seven accused was held separately as they were absconding during the commencement of the earlier trial.
On March 12, 1993, a series of co-ordinated bomb blasts struck Mumbai city, then Bombay, in one of the biggest terrorist attacks in the country. Underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim, along with Tiger Memon and his brother Yakub Memon were alleged to be the prime conspirators in the case. Here is a timeline of events since Mumbai blasts 1993:
March 12, 1993: A series of 13 bomb explosions rocked Bombay city. The coordinated blasts took place in some of the most crowded junctions in the city including Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India Building at Nariman Point, Worli Opposite Century Bazar, Hotels Sea Rock and Juhu Centaur. Two hundred and fifty seven people died while 717 were injured in the blasts.
April 19, 1993: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, son of late actor and Congress leader Sunil Dutt, was arrested on charges of illegal possession of a 9mm pistol and AK-56 rifle and ammunition. A week later, the actor confessed about possession of arms and destroying it and was later granted bail by Bombay High Court. Read | 1993 Mumbai serial blasts verdict: TADA court to pronounce judgment on 7 accused today Click here.
November 1993: Mumbai crime branch filed a 10,000 page-long primary charge sheet naming 189 accused, including Dutt. The case was later handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
April 1994: The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court discharged 26 accused in the case, while framing charges against the remaining. The Supreme Court later discharged Abu Azmi (now Samajwadi Party leader) and Amjed Meher Baux.
April 1995-September 2003: The trial court began its hearing in the case. Two of the accused Mohammed Jameel and Usman Jhankanan turned witness in the case on June 9. Actor Sanjay Dutt was given bail by the Supreme Court on October 1995. The court reserved its judgment in the case in September 2003, seven months after Dawood’s gang member Ejaz Pathan was presented in the court. In March 2003, the court had decided to separate gangster Mustafa Dossa’s trial in the case.
June 13, 2006: The court decided to hold a separate trial for Dawood gangster Abu Salem, who was arrested in 2002 in Portugal and was extradited to India.
September 12, 2006: The court pronounced its judgment in the case and found Tiger Memon, Yakub Memon and two more of their family members guilty in the case. Three members were acquitted. The court order death sentence for 12 convicts, including Yakub, while 20 others were given life sentence.
November 2011-March 2013: Over 100 convicts in the case filed their appeals to Supreme Court. The apex court observed the appeals and reserved its order on August 29, 2012. In March 2013, the court announced its decision to uphold death sentence of Yakub Memon. It also announced its decision to commute death sentence of 10 convicts to life sentence. The court upheld the life imprisonment sentence of 16 out of 18 convicts. Actor Sanjay Dutt was also convicted in the case and was awarded a prison sentence of five years. Read | 1993 Mumbai serial blasts verdict today: What is the case? Click here
April 2013- February 2016: Dutt, who was found guilty of illegal possession of arms in 2006 and was given a sentence of five years in jail, was asked by court to surrender to the police to complete his remaining jail sentence. The veteran actor filled a mercy plea in Supreme Court, which was dismissed by the court. The actor surrendered to Mumbai Police on May 16, 2013. In February 2016, the actor was released from Yerwada jail.
During this time, the apex court also dismissed Yakub Memon’s review petitions, first of which he filed on July 30. In April 2014, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy plea. In April 2015, Yakub filed another petition seeking review of his death sentence, which was rejected by the court. Slated to be given death sentence on July 30, Yakub filed a curative plea as a last resort to Supreme Court, which was rejected on July 29, saying the issue of death warrant is in order. His fresh mercy plea to President was rejected was turned down by Pranab Mukherjee on July 29, and Yakub was hanged on July 30, 2015.
May 29, 2016: The TADA court announced June 16 as the date for pronouncement of judgement on trial against Abu Salem and other six accused.