2003 blasts:HC ruling on death penalty tomorrow

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court is likely to give its ruling tomorrow on confirmation of death sentence, awarded to three convicts including a woman, in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts case. Ashrat Ansari (32), his aide Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and wife Fehmida Sayed (43) were held guilty on charges of planting powerful bombs in two taxis which exploded at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003, killing 52 persons.

A special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) court had in August 2009 awarded capital punishment to the trio. A division bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and P D Kode, which has been hearing prosecution arguments seeking confirmation of death penalty and the appeals filed by the accused against their conviction, will tomorrow pass its order.

According to the prosecution, the conspiracy of the attack was hatched in Dubai by Hanif, Ashrat and another person named Nasir, who was killed in a police encounter. Some Pakistani nationals owing allegiance to terror outfit LeT were also behind the attack, police had said. The trio had been convicted under various sections of IPC, POTA, Explosives Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. LeT had used a family for the first time to carry out the blasts with the motive being to seek vengeance for the attacks on the minority community during the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002, police had said.