Mumbai: Six years after twin blasts rocked the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in 2003 killing 52 people, three persons, including a woman, were on Monday convicted by a special court for the crime.
Special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) judge M R Puranik convicted Ashrat Ashrat Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43) who face a maximum sentence of death penalty for their role in carrying out the blasts which also left around 100 injured.
The court said it will hear on 4 August the arguments of the defence and the prosecution regarding the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the convicted persons.
The trio have been convicted under various sections of the IPC for conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder, sections of POTA, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The convicts listened carefully to the judge while the verdict was being pronounced and remained silent.
Three more persons had been arrested for their alleged involvement in the blasts, but one of them turned approver in the case.
Two other accused, Mohammed Ansari Ladoowala and Mohammed Hasan Batterywala, were discharged from the case by POTA court after Supreme Court upheld a POTA review committee report that there was no case against the duo.
On August 25, 2003, two bombs which were placed in taxis exploded and rocked the iconic Gateway of India and the busy Zaveri Bazaar in South Mumbai.
Speaking outside the court, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said since the accused were found guilty under sections of IPC, the punishment the accused face is either life imprisonment or death.
“The prosecution is going to seek stringent punishment for the three on 4 August,” he said.
It was for the first time that a married couple has been found guilty under POTA for commission of a terror act like carrying out blasts, Nikam said.
“One of the accused who later became an approver has said the conspiracy to carry out the blasts was hatched by terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Dubai. In this conspiracy meeting, Pakistani nationals owing allegiance to LeT were also present and one of the objectives of the blasts was to create terror in Mumbai,” the special public prosecutor said.