Mumbai: A special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court on Thursday awarded death sentence to Tahir Merchant and Feroz Khan in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The court awarded life imprisonment to Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan along with a fine of Rs 2 lakhs, while Riyaz Ahmed Siddique received a sentence of 10 years.
Several conspirators and masterminds of the worst terror attack on the country including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his right hand man Chhota Shakeel and Memon’s elder brother Tiger Memon are still absconding and are believed to be sheltered in Pakistan.
Following is the chronology of events in the case:
March 12, 1993: A series of 13 explosions rock Mumbai resulting in 257 fatalities and injuries to 713 others.
April 19, 1993: Actor Sanjay Dutt (accused number 117) arrested.
November 4, 1993: Over 10,000 page-long primary charge sheet filed against 189 accused, including Dutt.
November 19, 1993: Case handed over to CBI.
April 1, 1994: TADA court shifted from city’s sessions and civil court to a separate building inside the premises of the Arthur Road Central Jail.
April 10, 1995: 26 accused discharged by the TADA court. Charges framed against the remaining accused.
Supreme Court discharges two more accused – travel agent Abu Asim Azmi and Amjed Meher Baux.
April 19, 1995: Trial commences.
April-June, 1995: Charges framed against the accused.
June 30, 1995: Two accused, Mohammed Jameel and Usman Jhankanan, turn approvers in the case.
October 14, 1995: Dutt granted bail by the Supreme Court.
March 23, 1996: Judge J N Patel transferred and elevated as a high court judge.
March 29, 1996: P D Kode designated as a special TADA judge for the case.
October 2000: Examination of 684 prosecution witnesses ends.
March 9-July 18, 2001: Accused record their statements.
August 9, 2001: Prosecution begins arguments.
October 18, 2001: Prosecution completes arguments.
November 9, 2001: Defence starts arguments.
August 22, 2002: Defence closes arguments.
February 20, 2003: Dawood gang member Ejaz Pathan produced in court.
March 20, 2003: Mustafa Dossa’s remand proceedings and trial separated.
September 2003: Trial ends. Court reserves Judgement.
June 13, 2006: Gangster Abu Salem’s trial separated.
August 10, 2006: Judge P D Kode says judgement will be pronounced on September 12.
September 12, 2006: Court starts delivering the judgement, pronounces four members of the Memon family guilty, and acquits three. 12 convicts awarded death penalty while 20 were given life sentence.
November 1, 2011: Supreme Court begins hearing on appeals filed by the 100 convicts as well as the state.
August 29, 2012: Supreme Court reserves its order on the appeals.
March 21, 2013: Supreme Court upholds death sentence of convict Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, and commutes death sentence of 10 convicts to life term. Life imprisonment of 16 out of 18 convicts also upheld.
May 2014, 2013: President Pranab Mukherjee rejects Yakub’s mercy plea
June 2, 2014: Supreme Court stays Memon’s execution on plea seeking review petitions in death cases to be heard in open court instead of chambers.
April 9, 2015: Supreme Court dismisses Memon’s petition seeking review of death sentence which was upheld by apex court.
July 21, 2015: Supreme Court rejects Memon’s curative petition, the last legal remedy to avoid execution of death sentence.
July 21, 2015: Hours after Supreme Court rejects Memon’s petition, he files mercy plea to Maharashtra Governor.
July 23, 2015: Memon’s moves Supreme Court with a petition seeking stay on his execution scheduled for July 30.
July 27, 2015: Supreme Court hears Yakub’s petition seeking a stay on execution, adjourns the matter to July 28.
July 28, 2015: As two-judge bench gives a spilt verdict, Supreme Court refers the case to a larger bench to be heard on July 29.
July 29, 2015: Supreme Court rejects Memon’s plea for staying execution, upholds dismissal of curative petition.
July 29, 2015: He files fresh mercy plea to President.
July 29, 2015: Maharashtra Governor rejects mercy plea, President also turns it down.
July 30, 2015: Memon files fresh petition before Supreme Court seeking stay on execution. Supreme Court rejects it after an unprecedented pre-dawn hearing.
July 30, 2015: Memon is hanged in Nagpur Jail.
June 16, 2017: The court had convicted six terrorists – Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Khan, Mohammed Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Taklya, Karimullah Khan and Riyaz Ahmed Siddique in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.