A Special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court on Thursday sentenced Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant to death in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan have been sentenced to life with a fine fine of Rs. 2 lakh.
The Mumbai serial blasts had left 257 people dead, 713 others seriously injured, and destroyed properties worth an estimated Rs 27 crore. This was the first ever terrorist attack in the world where RDX (Research Department Explosive i.e cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) was used on such a large scale after the Second World War.
Special TADA judge GA Sanap had pronounced Abu Salem due to the extradition agreement that the Indian government has with Portugal.
Special TADA judge GA Sanap had pronounced Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant guilty under sections 120B, 302, 307, 326, 427, 435, 436, 201 and 212 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 3, 3(3), 5, 6 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Rapid Protection Act, and provisions of the Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Abdul Qayyum Karim Sheikh is the only accused who was acquitted of all charges in the case as the court held that the prosecution failed to prove charge of conspiracy against him and held that evidence was not credible.
Tahir Merchant made transport arrangements for the co-accused who were trained in Pakistan. The prosecution said he, along with Karimullah Khan, arranged for their passports. Merchant attended conspiracy meetings in Dubai and motivated his associates to arrange men from Mumbai to be sent to Pakistan for arms training. He collected funds to procure arms and planned to set up an illegal arms manufacturing factory in India.
On January 8, 1993, two months ahead of the blasts, Mohammed Dossa (absconding brother of Mustafa Dossa) sent Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and another accused to Alibagh and Mhasla to inform Customs officials and landing agents about the landing (of arms and explosives) that was to take place the next day. He also attended conspiracy meetings.