Bombay High Court confirms death sentence to gateway blast convicts

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Bombay High Court today confirmed the death sentence, awarded to three convicts, including a woman, in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts case...

Bombay High Court today confirmed the death sentence, awarded to three convicts, including a woman, in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts case.

A division bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and P D Kode confirmed the death penalty and rejected the appeals filed by the three against their conviction.

In the operative part of the order, the court held that this it is the rarest of the rare case and hence the convicts deserve such type of penalty.

The court confirmed the lower court order on death penalty for the three convicts.

The court said the order is stayed for eight weeks to enable the convicts to move apex court to file an appeal against the high court order.

Two more, Mohammed Ansari Ladoowala and Mohammed Hasan Batterywala, were arrested later and charged under POTA. Both were, however, discharged from the case in 2008 after the Supreme Court upheld a POTA review committee report that said there was no case against them.

About them, the bench said that though they have been acquitted under the POTA act but there was evidence against them and hence a separate trial under the IPC should be conducted against them in a short period.

Ashrat Ansari (32), his aide Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and wife Fehmida Sayed (43) were held guilty on charges of planting powerful bombs in two taxis which exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003, killing 52 people.

A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court had in August 2009 awarded capital punishment to the trio.

According to the prosecution, the conspiracy of the attack was hatched in Dubai by Hanif, Ashrat and another person named Nasir,who was killed in a police encounter. Some Pakistani nationals owing allegiance to terror outfit LeT were also behind the attack, police had said.

The trio had been convicted under various sections of IPC, POTA, Explosives Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

LeT had used a family for the first time to carry out the blasts with the motive being to seek vengeance for the attacks on the minority community during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, police said.