Mumbai blasts: Two Tiger Memon aides among six sentenced

By IANS

Mumbai : A special court Thursday sentenced six people, including two close aides of absconding key conspirator in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts Tiger Memon, to jail ranging between five and 14 years for their role in smuggling of contraband explosives used in the bombings.

Among those sentenced by the special Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court were Sharif Abdul Ghafoor Parkar, a close aide of Memon, and his son Mujib Parkar.

Sharif was sentenced on two counts under the TADA act – on the first count, for seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.50,000 and in default one more year in jail, and on the second count, 10 years in jail and a fine of Rs.50,000.

He was also given an enhanced sentence of 14 years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.200,000 and in default three years in jail.

Sharif was found guilty for his role in the landing of weapons and RDX explosives at Shekhadi in coastal Raigad district on Feb 3 and 9, 1993 that were used later in the March 12 bombings.

He was the landing agent for the contraband. He was found guilty of bribing officials and police at Raigad to assist in the smuggling. He was given the enhanced sentence of 14 years as he was aware of the content of the contraband, but was absolved of the conspiracy charge.

Reading out the sentence special TADA judge Pramod Kode said: "Accused Sharif Dadabhai Parkar's offence is serious as even after knowing the contents of the contraband consignment being RDX and other explosive, he for a monetary consideration went ahead with the landing operations that led to the terror attacks that claimed hundreds of lives.

"He was also guilty of showing a place to absconding blast prime accused Tiger Memon for arms and explosives training and also arranging a meeting between customs officials and Tiger Memon, for which his sentence will be enhanced to 14 years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.200,000, defaulting which he will have to serve an additional jail term of three years."

Mujib was given five years in jail and a Rs.25,000 fine and six months in default for supervising the landing of the arms and explosives.

Another close Memon aide, Sarfaraj Dawood Phanse (Sarfaraj Dawood Phanse), was sentenced to nine years in jail and a fine of Rs.25,000. He is also the son of Dawood Mohammed Phanse, one of Memon's closest aides who is absconding and one of the main conspirators who had supervised the smuggling of the explosives.

Another associate of Memon, Raju Jain, was sentenced to seven years in jail and a fine of Rs.100,000 and in default three years imprisonment. He had supplied three jeeps with special cavities to smuggle the contraband. He had also bought a scooter and given it to Memon. The vehicle was later fitted with RDX and used in the Kanta Bazaar blast, one of the 12 bombings in the city that claimed 257 lives and injured more than 700 people.

Suleiman Ghoute and Syed Abdul Rehman were sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rs.25,000 each. They had driven the vehicles with contraband all the way to Mumbai.

Till Thursday, 28 of the 100 people who were convicted in the blasts have been sentenced by the court.

Actor Sanjay Dutt, who has been found guilty under the Arms Act but absolved of charges under the more stringent TADA Act, had been exempted form appearing in the court due to ill health but now he has been asked to appear in the court Friday.

Dutt, along with some other convicts, has sought relief under the Probation of Offenders Act (POA), which gives the court power to release a person who has been found guilty of a crime that is not punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Dutt has pleaded for probation instead of the maximum five years imprisonment that he faces. Relief under the POA depends on the convict's conduct and fulfilling of some conditions.

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