93 Mumbai blasts: SC begins hearing on appeals

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today began final hearing on a bunch of appeals filed by convicts as well as CBI in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case in which 12 persons were awarded death penalty and 78 others sentenced to varying terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan started hearing on 110 petitions which includes petition filed by film star Sanjay Dutt who was sentenced to six-year jail term in the case but is out on bail pending his appeal in the apex court.

CBI, however, has chosen not to appeal against Dutt who was acquitted of the charge of conspiracy in the blasts but was awarded six years imprisonment by a designated court for being in illegal possession of arms.

For the first time in the Supreme Court, Judges used desktops during the proceedings to browse through the over 4,000 pages judgement of the designated TADA court which had awarded death sentence to 12 people out of which one person died during the pendency of case. The designated court had passed the judgements between July and October 2007 on the trial relating to the serial blasts which had rocked Mumbai on March 12-13, 1993 killing over 200 persons and injuring 713.

During the pendency of the appeal in the apex court, one of the convicts Mohd Iqbal, facing death sentence, died and hence his appeal stands abated (ended). Three other convicts also died during the pendency of the appeal. While the 10 convicts facing death sentence have challenged their conviction, CBI has filed cross appeals against over 40 convicts, seeking enhancement of their punishment.