The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Memon driver joins list of guilty
- Duo cites riots in plea for leniency

Mumbai, Sept. 19: The anti-terror court hearing the 1993 serial blasts case today convicted prime accused Tiger Memon’s former driver Abdul Gani Ismail Turk of triggering a blast in Worli’s Century Bazaar that claimed 113 lives.

The 48-year-old was found guilty of planting and detonating an RDX-packed jeep in the central Mumbai area. The explosion also left 227 people injured.

Turk is the eighth accused after four members of the Memon family and three others that Judge Pramod Kode has convicted among the 123 facing trial for the serial explosions that rocked the country’s financial capital 13 years ago and killed over 250 people.

He is also the fourth among the 18 accused of actually packing RDX in vehicles and parking them at various sites to be convicted by the Tada court.

He is likely to face a minimum punishment of five years to life in prison, and a maximum of death.

Turk, accused of playing a role in landing arms and explosives and transporting them to the Memons’ Mahim residence, was found guilty of abetting, facilitating and committing a terrorist act causing deaths, injuries and destruction of property on a mass scale.

According to the CBI, Turk packed RDX into vehicles on the intervening night of March 11 and 12, 1993, which were later planted at various sites. The agency said Turk drove a Commander jeep packed with RDX and fitted with timer devices from Mahim and parked it in front of a hotel in Worli.

The bomb, parked next to a bus stop, exploded at 2.45 pm, damaging several residential buildings and a factory. The impact of the explosion tossed a bus several feet into the air, strewing mangled human remains all over the area.

Kode also recorded the statements of Asghar Mukadam and Shahnawaz Qureshi, who were yesterday convicted of parking an RDX-laden vehicle near a cinema. The blast killed 10, injured 36 and damaged property worth Rs 87 lakh.

Both pleaded for a lenient sentence, saying they were not terrorists and were emotionally driven to participate in the conspiracy.

Mukadam said his employer Tiger Memon took advantage of his disturbed frame of mind in the aftermath of the Mumbai riots. “The police were partial during the riots and politicians, too, did not pay any attention…I could not understand what to do and was forced to take revenge,” he said.

Qureshi, who was convicted of acquiring arms training in Pakistan, said his house was torched during the riots.

“After Allah, we have faith in you,” Qureshi told the judge.

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