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. The trial of these seven accused was held separately as they were absconding during the commencement of the earlier trial. The accused faced charges including criminal conspiracy, waging war against the Government of India and murder.
Abu Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005. Having been sentenced to life imprisonment in another case, he is currently lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Raigad. The CBI claimed it extradited Dossa from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2003, after which the court ordered him to undergo a separate trial for charges including conspiracy and transportation of arms. TADA court to pronounce judgment on 7 accused today. Click here
What happened in 1993?
On March 12, 1993, thirteen blasts ripped through the city of Mumbai, then Bombay, killing at least 257 people and injuring nearly 713. It was one of the most coordinated terrorist attacks on Indian soil. The first explosion was triggered in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building, after which a series of bombs went off at quick intervals at the Air India Building, Century Bazaar at Worli, Katha Bazaar, Plaza theatre in Dadar, in five-star hotels Centaur at Juhu, Centaur at Santa Cruz and Sea Rock at Bandra. There were also blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and a petrol pump adjoining the Shiv Sena Bhavan. Apart from the bombs, people at fishermen colony in Mahim and at the Sahar International Airport were targetted with hand grenades.
It was later confirmed that this was the first terror attack across the world, since World War II, in which RDX was used on a large scale. The Supreme Court confirmed this in 2014 in a statement: “This was the first ever terrorist attack in the world where RDX (Research Department Explosive) was used on a large scale basis after the World War II.” Property worth Rs 28 crore was destroyed in the attack. Also read: Here’s what all has happened in the case. Click here.
Who carried out the attack?
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the Memon family are believed to be the masterminds behind the attack. While Dawood, Tiger and Ayub Memon are absconding, authorities nabbed Yakub Memon. Yakub was sentenced to death and hanged on July 30, 2015 in Nagpur Jail.
Dawood — his name also appears on the United Nations charter of dreaded criminals and has a Interpol Red Corner Notice against him — was the don of a Mumbai-based criminal group called D-Company. Dawood, who’s been in hiding since the blasts, is believed to be in Pakistan. He has alleged ties with terrorist groups including the al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The Mumbai Police, which was originally handling the case, handed over their investigation to the CBI a month after the attacks. The CBI filed a chargesheet against 189 people, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, in 1994. Dutt was found in possession of an AK rifle which was part of the consignment used in the attack. Dutt, who served five years in prison, was released last year in February.
After years of trial, 100 people were convicted by the TADA court, several of whom are still absconding.
Why was Mumbai targetted?
Between December 1992 and January 1993, communal riots broke out in the country, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and subsequent construction of a make-shift temple in its place. According to the CBI’s case, the terrorist attack was planned and executed as ‘revenge’ to the riots that killed many Muslims. The agency claims the objective of the attack was to ‘strike terror in the people’ and to ‘adversely affect the harmony’ among different sections of society.