Three held guilty for 2003 Mumbai blasts

Three held guilty for 2003 Mumbai blasts

Hanif Sayyed, accused in 2003 twin blasts case on his way to a special POTA court in Mumbai on Monday. He was later convicted by the court. PTIThe three, including a couple, were held guilty of planting powerful bombs in two taxis which exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar on August 25, 2003. POTA judge M R Puranik deferred till August 4 the next hearing to decide the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the three convicts. The trio had, around a month before the blasts, on July 28, planted a bomb in a municipal bus in suburban Ghatkopar which killed two persons.

The three, Ashrat Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43), were convicted for their role in the blasts under various Sections of IPC, POTA, Explosives Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Stating that the accused face life or death sentence as they were found guilty under sections of IPC, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam asserted that the prosecution would seek stringent punishment for the trio.

The Gateway of India blast was the deadliest, killing around 50 people. The bombs that were planted in the taxis at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar, the city’s bullion market, contained RDX. The trio would have continued their nefarious activities, being members of a sleeper cell of Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which also masterminded last year’s multiple terror attacks on the city.

The couple’s 16-year old daughter, too, was arrested with them, but was later discharged as she was a minor. Two more persons were discharged on the directive of the POTA review commission whose order was confirmed by the Supreme Court. They were Mohammed Ansari Ladoowala and Mohammed Hasan Batterywala.

The mastermind of the blasts, one Nasir from Hyderabad, was killed in an encounter near Matunga in Mumbai after the blasts. It was an accused who turned approver in the case that sealed the case against the Sayed couple. He was pardoned by the court for helping the prosecution.

Conspiracy

The approver revealed the LeT’s hand in the twin blasts and told the court about a conspiracy meeting that was held in Dubai and attended by the outfit’s activists from Pakistan.

The motive behind the blasts was to said to be to seek revenge of the killings of Muslims after the Godhra carnage, in which 59 Hindus were burnt to death by a rampaging mob outside the Godhra station.

According to the prosecution, Hanif, Nasir and Ansari fabricated the bombs, which exploded at the iconic Gateway of India and in the busy Zaveri Bazaar in South Mumbai on August 25, 2003. On the fateful day, Hanif, Fehmida and their daughter had boarded a taxi from Andheri to the Gateway of India and left their bag in the vehicle, telling the taxi driver that they would return after taking lunch.

The bomb exploded in the taxi after the driver, who identified the family in the court, left his vehicle to have food. Ansari boarded another taxi to Zaveri bazaar and he too left his bag in the taxi, saying he would return, but the vehicle exploded shortly thereafter.
Hanif and Fehmida were also involved in carryingout an explosion on a municipal BEST bus at Ghatkopar on July 28, 2003, in which two persons were killed. The couple was also involved in placing a bomb in another bus at Andheri on December 2, 2002, but fortunately it did not explode. The prosecution examined 103 witnesses and the defence four.

DH News Service

 

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