The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Yakub Memon in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case while commuting the ten others' death sentence to jail till natural death. The Court has also upheld actor Sanjay Dutt’s conviction under the Arms Act but reduced his sentence to 5 years from 6 years. The court’s decision will effectively reduce his unserved term to 3.5 years he has already undergone 18 months of jail. The CBI had faced criticism for not challenging the TADA court verdict acquitting Sanjay Dutt of the TADA charges but convicting and sentencing him to 6 years jail under the Arms Act. However, during the hearing of his appeal, the CBI had opposed the plea challenging his conviction and sentencing.
Sanjay Dutt has been asked to surrender in four weeks. The actor, convicted under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons, had been awarded 6 years jail by the TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court earlier but Sanjay and others had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The court also condemned the Mumbai police and customs officers whose negligence led to the tragedy. The Court said that the Memon family had played a dominant role in the executing the conspiracy that led to the Mumbai serial blasts on March 12, 1993, claiming 257 lives. The Court also panned Pakistan for helping terrorists in violation of its international obligations as a UN member.
While commuting the 10 other convicts’ death sentence to life imprisonment, the court noted that they were mere pawns used in the conspiracy.
A TADA court had in 1993 awarded the death sentence to 12 people, including Memon. Since then, one of them has passed away. The court had also sentenced 20 to life imprisonment and 46 others, including Sanjay Dutt, were given varying terms of imprisonment.
The serial bomb blasts had ripped through Mumbai on March 12, 1993 in fishermen's colony in Mahim Causeway, Zaveri Bazaar, Sahar Airport, Air India building, Hotel Juhu Centaur, BSE Building and the Passport Office. The TADA trial court presided by Justice P.D. Kode had begun the trial in November, 1993 and delivered its verdict in July, 2007.