The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, a key conspirator with Dawood Ibrahim in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and ordered that actor Sanjay Dutt return to jail to serve three-and-a-half years sentence for possessing illegal arms.
Bringing the curtain down on the 20-year-long judicial proceedings, the apex court said 33 others will serve rigorous jail term “for their whole life” and termed as “devastating” the role played by Pakistan and its spy agency ISI in training and supporting conspirators in hatching the plot for the blasts in the financial capital claiming 257 lives.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, however, commuted the sentence of death penalty of 10 others, who had planted RDX explosives-laden vehicles at various places in Mumbai, awarded by the special TADA court, to life term by distinguishing their roles with that of the Memon.
“…we confirm the death reference with regard to Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and commute the death sentence into life imprisonment for rest (ten) of the appellants convicted under this part,” said the bench, which delivered its judgement in six parts running into 2,198 pages.
53-year-old Dutt, who is out on bail, will also have to surrender within four weeks to serve a jail term of 42 months as the apex court reduced to five years the six year jail term awarded to him by a designated TADA court in 2007 and he had already spent 18 months behind the bar.
Dutt, son of famous bollywood couple late Sunil Dutt and Nargis, was convicted by the TADA court for illegal possession of a 9 mm Pistol and a AK-56 rifle which was part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the coordinated serial blasts.
The court refused to grant leniency to Dutt for releasing him under probation, saying the nature of offence was ‘serious”.