In 2003 twin Mumbai blasts, all three accused, including a woman, have been granted death penalty by a special court for their involvement in the explosions at the iconic Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar, in which 54 people were killed and 244 injured.
A special Prevention of Terrorism Act Court sentenced to death three accused: Mohammed Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimda and Ashrat Ansari. It is for the first time that a couple had been convicted by a POTA court for executing explosions.
They were found guilty of planting two bombs, one at the Gateway of India and other at Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003. In addition, they had also planted a bomb in a municipal bus on July 28, 2003 in suburban Ghatkopar which killed two persons.
At the time of announcement of verdict, Hanif did not show any reaction. Similarly, his wife Fahmida remained silence in the court but burst out in tears as she left the court premises.
Ujjwal Nikam, Special Public Prosecutor, said outside the court that trio deserved the death sentence for the case is the rarest of rare category’s.
“We are happy that all three got the death penalty. It is a message to people who indulge in terrorism that the law will not spare them if they commit such barbarous acts,” Nikam said.
The trio was sentenced to death under section 3(2) of POTA, and sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120 (b) (conspiracy) of IPC, he said.
They were sentenced to varying prison terms under the provisions of Explosives Substances Act, Explosives Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
“Initally they had planted a bomb in a bus but since few people were killed, they decided to use powerful explosives on the instructions of Laskhar-e-Taiba,” Nikam said.