3 get noose for Mumbai blasts

For the first time, couple gets death for role in terror plot

Ashrat Ansari, Mohammed Hanif Sayed and Fahmida Syed Mohammed Haneef were found guilty in 2003 Mumbai blasts. PTI
Handing down the noose to the trio — Mohammed Hanif Sayeed (46), his wife Fahmida (43) and Ashrat Ansari (32) — judge P R Puranik observed it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt that they had committed the heinous acts.
The court agreed with Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that it was “the rarest of the rare case”, where capital punishment was fully justified.

This is for the first time that a couple has been convicted by a POTA court for executing blasts.

The trio was held guilty of planting two bombs that went off at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003, claiming 52 lives and injuring 244. They had also planted a bomb on July 28, 2003 in a bus in the suburban Ghatkopar which killed two persons.

Soon after the verdict was pronounced, the police whisked away Sayed, Fahmida and Ansari to different jails. Fahmida broke down outside the court, while her husband did not react and stood calm by her side. Ashrat said: “Is andhe kanoon se kya insaaf milega?” (What justice can you get when the law is blind?).  Commenting on the verdict, Nikam said: “We are happy that justice has been delivered. This would send a strong message to terrorists.” The three were given the death penalty under Section 3(2) of POTA, and IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120(b)(conspiracy).

They were sentenced to varying prison terms under the provisions of the Explosives Substances Act, Explosives Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

“Initially, they had planted a bomb in a bus, but since a few people were killed, they decided to use powerful bombs on the instructions of the LeT,” Nikam said. He added Fahmida had played a major role in executing the blasts. She not only planted a bomb in a bus on July 28, 2003, along with her husband’s friend Ashrat, but on August 25, 2003, she and her husband Hanif planted bombs in taxis at the Gateway of India. Ashrat planted a bomb in a taxi in Zaveri Bazaar. It was selected as a blast site since the trio wanted to target the famous Mumbadevi temple. The Gateway of India was chosen since the LeT wanted to target the nearby Taj Hotel.


 

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