Twenty-four years after 13 coordinated blasts ripped through Mumbai, gangster Abu Salem has been jailed for life, while Tahir Merchant and Feroz Khan received death sentences, according to media reports. A fourth man involved in the atrocity, Karimullah Khan, was given a life sentence.
On Thursday, a special court for the 1993 Mumbai blasts case could not sentence Salem to death because he was extradited from Portugal in 2005 on the condition that he would not face capital punishment. It was the second leg of the serial blasts case in which seven suspects were tried for their involvement in the atrocity, which claimed the lives of 257 people and grievously wounded over 700 others.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had sought life imprisonment for Salem, who was convicted under sections of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. Several others accused in the case, including India’s most wanted criminal, Dawood Ibrahim, have not yet been apprehended.
In the first part of the trial, which ended in 2007, the anti-terrorism court convicted 100 people, out of which 23 were eventually acquitted. In 2015, Yakub Memon was hanged.
On June 16, the special court convicted Salem, Merchant, Feroze and Karimullah on charges of criminal conspiracy, murder and committing acts of terrorism causing death. Siddiqui was found guilty of the lesser charge of aiding and abetting terrorism.