Verdicts announced in trial of the Mumbai 1993 terrorists
BBC News, 4 December 2006
A judge in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) has finished delivering verdicts in the trial of those charged over the country's deadliest bombings.
He found six more defendants guilty of links to the 1993 attacks, taking to 100 the number of people convicted.
Twenty-three people were acquitted. Sentencing is expected early next year.
The 12 blasts in Mumbai killed 257 people. The attacks were allegedly ordered by the Muslim-dominated underworld after Hindu-Muslim riots.
More than 700 people were injured in the bombings.
The six men convicted on Monday were Bashir Khairulla, Zahir Hussain, Abdul Khan, Firoz Mallik, Moin Quereshi and Salim Shaikh.
Judge PD Kode found them guilty of helping plan the bombings, loading explosives onto vehicles used in the attacks and throwing grenades in a suburb of the financial capital.
Judge Kode began issuing verdicts in September of this year.
Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the BBC sentencing would not take place before January 2007.
He said prosecution and defence lawyers would begin submissions on sentencing from 11 December, a process which he expected to take "a month and a half".
"This is for the first time in the judicial history of India and perhaps the world that 100 people have been held guilty in one trial," he said.
Among those convicted is Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.
He was found guilty of illegally possessing firearms belonging to men who prosecutors say carried out the attacks – but the star was cleared of the more serious charge of conspiracy.
There have been few trials in India's legal history to match this one.
Evidence has been taken from more than 600 witnesses.
The bombings are believed to have been carried out by one of the city's notorious underworld crime syndicates, which were then dominated by Muslims.
Their motive is said to have been revenge for religious riots a few months earlier that left more than 2,000 people dead across India, most of them Muslims.
The man thought to have masterminded the plot, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has still not been caught.
India says he and another key suspect, Tiger Memon, are hiding in Pakistan, a charge Pakistan has denied.
Most of the accused have been in jail for the past 13 years.
Proceedings have taken so long that 12 of the accused have died and others have been imprisoned for so much longer than their likely sentence that a guilty verdict may still result in them walking free.
1993 MUMBAI BLASTS
A scene from the 1993 Mumbai blast (Pic: Fawzan Husain)
123 arrested and tried
686 witnesses testify
35,000 pages of evidence submitted
13 years to reach verdicts