| Unidentified relatives of a convict outside the court. Neither of them is the woman in love with Ghansar. (AFP)
Mumbai, July 19: Mohammed Shoaib Ghansar’s heart must have leapt when the special court sentenced him to life in jail. He would, after all, be able to marry the woman who has waited 14 years for his release.
The next moment, judge Pramod Kode sounded his death knell.
Ghansar was one of three bomb-planters sent to the gallows today for their role in the 1993 Bombay blasts, taking to six the number of people condemned to death.
Ghansar was convicted for parking a scooter packed with RDX at Zaveri Bazaar. The explosion killed 17 people and injured 57.
Kode said Ghansar was roped in on March 11, a day before the blasts that killed 257 people, when his cousin and co-accused Asghar Mukadam assigned him the job of planting the scooter bomb.
“Since he was not part of the conspiracy meetings, he cannot be termed a coveted member of the conspiracy. Therefore, his sentence has been reduced to life,” Kode said.
The judge, however, found him guilty of committing a terrorist act that resulted in deaths, and handed him the capital punishment.
“In his confession, he has said that after parking the scooter, he went to Jama Masjid… and offered namaz to seek pardon for his sins. It indicates he was well aware of what would unfold at Zaveri Bazaar minutes later,” Kode said.
Ghansar had earlier pleaded for leniency saying he wanted to start life afresh with a girl — the daughter of a co-accused — who has been waiting for him.
The 38-year-old former salesman had told The Telegraph last September that he met the girl when she accompanied a family member to the Arthur Road jail soon after his arrest on March 21, 1993.
Their love blossomed during weekly mulaqats, as such meetings are called in prison lingo.
“She told me she will never marry anyone else and wait for me to come out,” Ghansar had said then.
After the death sentence was pronounced today, the girl went to the Arthur Road jail to meet him.
Ghansar will now be sent to a Pune jail and kept there till the Supreme Court decides on his appeal in a month.
The others sentenced to death today were Mukadam, 42, who parked an RDX-packed Maruti van near Plaza Cinema in central Mumbai, and his associate Shahnawaz Qureshi, 41. The explosion killed 10.
“Some of them were fully aware of the conspiracy and the targets. This shows their intent…. Those who were part of the conspiracy from start to end can be described as coveted members of the conspiracy and punishment would be on a higher scale than others,” Kode said, explaining why he had given the death sentence to some of the convicts.