HC verdict in 2003 Mumbai blasts on December 12
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 12, 2011, 20:20
  
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court will on December 12 pronounce its judgement on confirmation of death sentence awarded to three LeT activists in the 2003 Mumbai twin blasts that claimed 52 lives.

The arguments concluded at a special hearing by a division bench of Justices AM Khanvilkar and PD Kode on Saturday after which the court reserved its verdict.

Ashrat Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43) were, in July 2009, found guilty by a POTA court of planting powerful bombs in two taxis which exploded at the iconic Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003.

The trio had on July 28, around a month before the blasts, planted a bomb in a municipal bus in suburban Ghatkopar which killed two persons.

The conspiracy had been hatched by Hanif, Ashrat, Nasir, a Hyderabad resident, who was later killed in a police encounter, and some Pakistani nationals owing allegiance to LeT in Dubai.

The LeT's role in the twin blasts was revealed by an accused-turned-approver. The approver was given a pardon by the court after public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted a certificate saying he may be discharged.

It was for the first time that LeT had used a family to carry out bomb blasts.

Along with the couple, Hanif and Fehmida, their 16-year-old daughter was also arrested for the offence but was later discharged as she was a minor.

Two other accused, Mohammed Ansari Ladoowala and Mohammed Hasan Batterywala, were also discharged from the case by the POTA court after Supreme Court upheld a POTA review committee report that said there was no case against the duo.

On the fateful day, Hanif, Fehmida and their daughter had boarded a taxi from Andheri to Gateway of India and left their bag in the vehicle telling the taxi driver that they would return after taking lunch.

Luckily for the driver, the bomb exploded after he had left his vehicle to take his meal. The driver had later identified the family in the court.

Ansari had boarded another taxi to Zaveri bazaar where again he left an explosive-laden bag, telling the driver he would return. The vehicle exploded shortly afterwards.

The three were convicted under various Sections of IPC, POTA, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The motive, according to investigators, was to avenge the violence against the minority community during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002.

As the convicts were given death sentence by trial court, the matter was sent to the Bombay High Court for confirmation, as required under the law.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, November 12, 2011, 20:18


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