Mumbai blasts case: Why death penalty for Tahir Merchant?

Posted September 08, 2017

While Dossa arranged for landing of explosives, including RDX in India, and sent some youths to Pakistan for arms training, Salem transported arms and ammunition from Gujarat coast to Mumbai.

A special TADA court had in June convicted six persons, including mastermind Mustafa Dossa and Salem, in the serial blasts case, 24 years after the attacks left 257 people dead in the country's financial capital.

April 1, 1994: The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court shifts from city's sessions and civil court to a separate building inside the premises of the Arthur Road Central Jail. The court will begin to hear submissions by the prosecution and defence on the sentence on Friday. Another accused, Mustafa Dossa, died of a heart attack shortly after the convictions.

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Another convict Riyaz Siddiqui, who was charged for transporting explosives in a van used in the blasts, was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

"The government will take a decision on this matter now under the Criminal Procedure Code, whether to commute the life sentence to 25 years in accordance with the extradition treaty provisions", Special Public Prosecutor Deepak Salve told IANS.

The prosecution had sought apex punishment for Merchant, Karimulla, Feroze and Salem but the court only gave Merchant and Feroze the death penalty, while the other two got life imprisonment.

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At least 257 people were killed and more than 700 others injured after a series of blasts rocked different localities of Mumbai in 1993. The manner in which Indian government has done a commendable job in bringing Abu Salem to India from Portugal, we expected that he will be awarded stringent punishment too. Second leg involving seven accused begins. If the SC confirms the death sentence, they can go to the President with a mercy plea.

The prosecution had said that Salem too deserved death, but it can not demand the maximum penalty for him because of the Indian Extradition Act. Out of the 100 convicted people, 23 have been acquitted and the others have been missing.

11 November 2005: Salem extradited to India. As a result of that trial, Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, was found guilty and hanged in July 2015.

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