Six accused were pronounced guilty by a special court in the 1993 serial blasts case that claimed 257 lives in the city. Qayyum Shaikh, 64, behind bars for almost 11 years, was acquitted for lack of evidence. Special judge Govind A Sanap found “concrete evidence“ against gangsters Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Taher Merchant, Feroze Khan, Karimullah Khan, and convicted them on charges of criminal conspiracy, murder and indulging in acts of terrorism that cause death during the hour-long procedure. Riyaz Siddiqui, 67, was found guilty for abetting and aiding terrorism, a charge that attracts a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
This trial of seven was the second in the 1993 case. The main trial of 123 accused ended in 2006 with the conviction of 100. Yakub Memon, brother of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, was hanged in 2015, and the others have served or are serving time.
Friday's verdict stands out since the evidence adduced in the main trial was also used in the second one. The court said none of the accused was held guilty under the Indian Penal Code charge of waging a war against the nation. When the court said evidence against Qayyum Shaikh, 64, accused of bringing smuggled arms to the city with Salem, “is not credible and acceptable“ and acquitted him, he raised his folded arms and thanked the court.
After proceedings ended at 1.20 pm, the court allowed the accused to meet their family members.Cops restricted access and allowed only two family members to meet each of them. Salem did not have many visitors. His family members were back home in Azamgarh, UP.