Mumbai: A special POTA court in Mumbai on Wednesday sentenced to life three of the ten convicted in the multiple blasts that rocked Mumbai between December 2002 and March 2003, killing 13 people while key accused Saquib Nachan was given a ten-year jail term.

Special POTA judge P.R. Deshmukh said that convict Muzammil Ansari, who had planted the bombs, will undergo life imprisonment. Two other convicts who were granted life are Farhaan Khot and Dr Wahid Ansari. Six others were awarded various jail terms ranging from 2-10 years. The court ordered that 75% of the fine amount (total 9 lakh) recovered from the convicts to go to District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) while the rest to go to the Indian Railways.

The court also directed DLSA, Mumbai to decide the quantum of compensation to be awarded to the victims and dependents and accordingly pay it.

On Tuesday, the court had reserved its verdict on the quantum of sentence to ten persons convicted for their role in the multiple blasts. On 29 March, the court had convicted key accused Saquib Nachan, Ateef Mulla, Hasib Mulla, Ghulam Kotal, Mohammed Kamil, Noor Malik, Anwar Ali Khan, Farhaan Khot, Dr Wahid Ansari and Muzammil Ansari in the case.

Twelve people were killed in Mulund train blasts on 13 March 2003. Prior to that, on 6 December 2002, several persons were injured in a blast at McDonald’s at Mumbai Central station, while a person had died in a blast in a market in Vile Parle (East) on 27 January 2003.

During the course of arguments on the sentencing, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian had demanded capital punishment for Muzammil Ansari. She had also sought life imprisonment for Saquib Nachan, Gulam Khotal, Farhaan Khot and Dr Wahid Ansari. In a combined chargesheet, filed against 15 accused in the Mulund, Vile Parle and Mumbai Central blast cases, police had charged them with offences under POTA, the Explosive Substances Act and preparation to wage war against the nation and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

Two accused died during the trial and cases against them were abated. Six are still wanted in the case. During the trial, prosecution examined 153 witnesses while the defence examined 30 witnesses. The trial began in 2014, as earlier some of the accused had challenged POTA and had also challenged clubbing of the cases.

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