Sanjay Dutt gets 5 years in jail
22 March, 2013
NEW DELHI: India's top court upheld the death penalty on Thursday for a mastermind of the country's deadliest series of attacks and ruled that a Bollywood star who bought weapons from the bombers must return to jail.
Yakub Memon, brother of the alleged main plotter and fugitive Tiger Memon, was the only one of 11 convicts to see his death sentence upheld by the Supreme Court for his role in the 1993 blasts which killed 257 people in Mumbai. The judges also handed down a five-year term for actor Sanjay Dutt for possessing illegal weapons bought from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings. Dutt has already served 18 months but is currently out on bail.
Announcing the sentences, Supreme Court judge P Sathashivam said the Memon brothers and another suspect, Dawood Ibrahim, "were archers and the rest of the appellants were arrows in their hands". "They were the architects of the blasts," Sathashivam, one of two judges presiding over the case, said.
The remaining convicts who had appealed against the death penalty saw their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The attacks on March 12, 1993, were believed to have been staged by Mumbai's Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that left more than 1,000 dead in the city a few months earlier.
Yakub, an accountant by profession, his brothers Essa and Yusuf and sister-in-law Rubina were all convicted for their involvement in the serial blasts at 13 different locations. The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of the national carrier Air India and the luxury Sea Rock hotel were among the targets. Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, the other alleged masterminds of the attacks, have been on the run since 1993. Indian investigators say they were helped by Pakistan's intelligence service, a charge denied by Islamabad. Dutt, who was appealing against an original six-year term, spent 18 months behind bars before being bailed in 2007.
During a police raid, investigators uncovered a pistol and an AK-56 rifle which were part of the consignment of weapons and explosives said to have been brought to India from Pakistan and then used in the attacks. The 53-year-old Dutt in a statement said he "respected" the court's verdict.