Judge injured, Mumbai blast case sentencing postponed


Mumbai : The process of sentencing the accused in the Mumbai 1993 serial bomb blast case was postponed for two days after the concerned judge accidentally broke his right hand Monday.

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Special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) judge Pramod Kode was hospitalised, a TADA court official said.

"Judge Kode has broken his right hand after he fell in the bathroom at his residence this morning. The judge has informed us at the court that the ongoing sentencing will be postponed for the next two days," V.S. Gawas, registrar of the TADA Court, told INAS.

Judge Kode is in the midst of delivering the quantum of sentence for the 100 accused found guilty of their role in the March 12, 1993 serial bombing in Mumbai that killed 257 people and injured about 700.

The court is yet to sentence four family members of the prime accused, absconding Tiger Memon, 15 bomb planters, a senior customs official, Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt and three other co-accused found guilty under the Arms Act.

However, sentencing proceedings have been stalled since June 19 after 16 of the accused challenged the validity of the special court that tried them.

In an application before the special TADA court, the group cited a Supreme Court judgement last month saying that all cases under the TADA Act should be referred to the apex court.

Dutt and three others convicted under the Arms Act as well as the four family members of Tiger Memon are not party to the application.

The court had been sentencing the convicts since May 18. So far, 76 of the 100 convicts have been sentenced with jail terms ranging from life to five years and fines for planning and abetting the attack or for illegal possession of weapons.

Dutt was found guilty of illegal possession of weapons and could face up to 10 years in prison. No date has been set for his sentencing.

The 47-year-old actor, currently on bail, was found guilty under the Arms Act but has been cleared of the charge of conspiracy under the stringent TADA Act.

Dutt, who has already spent 18 months behind bars after the bombings, had sought probation under the Probation of Offenders Act on grounds of good behaviour and his bail has been extended several times since he was convicted last November.

The attacks were allegedly masterminded by India's most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and Mohammed Dossa – all three have been declared absconders by the TADA Court.