The Supreme Court on 21 March, upheld the death sentence of Yakub Memon in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. Actor Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to 5 years in jail under the Arms Act and will have to surrender within 4 weeks. Since the actor has already spent 18 months in jail, he will now have to serve a jail term of three and a half years. The SC said that the circumstances and nature of offence was so serious that Dutt cannot be released on probation.
The SC said that Yakub Memon and all absconding accused (Dawood Ibrahim and others) were “archers” and rest of the accused were “arrows” in their hands. The sentence of 10 other accused was reduced to life. The SC commuted the death sentence on the ground that the convicts were behind bars for 20 years and their economic condition was weak. The SC also upheld the life sentence of 16 out of 18 convicts sentenced by TADA court. The court observed that the management and conspiracy of the blasts was done by Dawood Ibrahim and others in Pakistan and that the accused were trained in bomb making and to handle sophisticated weapons in Pakistan. It held that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was also involved in the 1993 blasts, but the police, customs and coastal guards in India were also to be blamed.
(with inputs from PTI)