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.