After a marathon ten-month-long hearing,the Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a bunch of appeals and cross-appeals in the 1993 Mumbai serial terror bombing case in which 257 people were killed and 713 others were injured.
A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan had begun hearing on November 1,2011 the appeals,including that of Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt against his conviction and six-year jail term,awarded by a Mumbai anti-terror court under the Arms Act.
During the hearing,the Bench for the first time used laptops in the court to peruse the voluminous documents and record of the case and the submissions of various counsel.
On March 12,1993,Mumbai had been rocked by a series of blasts,engineered by fundamentalist elements,which besides killing and maiming hundreds of people,also damaged property worth over Rs 27 crore.
In all there were 123 accused in the case of whom 12 were awarded death sentence by the designated TADA court,while 20 others were given life imprisonment and 68 varying jail terms.
About 128 appeals were filed in the apex court against the designated court’s judgement. Of these 76 were filed by the accused,while the CBI had preferred 48 appeals against the 67 accused persons.
Though the agency did not chose to appeal against Dutt who was acquitted of the charge of conspiracy in the then existing stringent anti-terror law TADA,during the arguments the CBI had urged the apex court to sustain the six-year rigorous jail term imposed upon him by the designated court for possessing illegal arms.