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Blasts trial verdict in death zone

Mumbai, Sept. 13: The judgment in the Bombay blasts trial enters a phase tomorrow when the fate of 22 people charged with actually carrying out the attacks will be decided.

Some of these accused have been charged under sections that attract the death penalty unlike in the case of four members of the Menon family convicted in the first verdict in the trial.

Judge Pramod Kode is expected to give his verdict tomorrow on the accused who are charged with a direct role in landing, transport- ing and planting explosives at the 13 sites of explosion in 1993.

Some of the accused are charged under Section 3(2)(i) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act where the punishment could be the death penalty.

The section reads: “Whoever commits a terrorist act shall be punishable by death if such act has resulted in death.”

Mohammed Shoaib Kasam Ghansar, Asgar Yusuf Mukadam, Abdul Ghani Ismail Turk and Parvez Nasir Ahmed Shaikh are among those charged under this section.

They also face charges under a section (committing terrorist act that caused injuries but not deaths) of the same law that attracts punishment ranging from five years’ rigorous imprisonment to life.

For instance, the chargesheet against Ghansar says he planted an RDX-laden vehicle at Sheikh Memon Street and Mirza Street at Zaveri Bazaar in south-central Mumbai which killed 17 and injured 57 others, besides damaging property worth Rs 1.20 crore.

It accuses him of participating in arms landings on the Raigad coast on February 3 and 7, 1993.

Ghansar is also charged with helping Tiger Memon, a key accused, escape from India in the early hours of March 12, the day of the blasts, and arranging for his air tickets.

The chargesheet says he was present at the conspiracy meetings held at the Memon residences in Al-Hussaini building at Mahim.

Similarly, Asgar Mukadam helped in landings of arms and explosives and drove a red Maruti van along with co-accused Shahnawaz Qureshi to the Plaza Cinema compound at Dadar in central Mumbai. The blast there killed 10 people and injured 36.

Next in line, Abdul Ghani Ismail Turk parked an RDX-laden Commander jeep near a bus stop at Century Bazaar, the explosion there killing 113 people, the majority of the 257 who died in the serial blasts that day.

Resuming his daily hearings today, the judge indicated that he would proceed according to the numerical order in which the 123 accused are listed. Yesterday, he passed judgment on Accused No. 1-8.

He directed No. 9, Ghansar, to be asked to be present tomorrow. On a request by the prosecution, he agreed to also call all others in custody at the Arthur Road jail.

He accepted the request by the Memon lawyer for a day to prepare arguments during the hearing of sentencing of the four convicted.

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