Indian court convicts six over deadly Mumbai blasts


MUMBAI: An Indian court on Friday convicted six men over serial bomb blasts in the commercial capital Mumbai more than two decades ago that killed hundreds, the nation’s deadliest attack.

They were found guilty of involvement in a series of coordinated bomb attacks that targeted the Mumbai stock exchange, the headquarters of the state airline and a popular shopping centre in March 1993, killing 257 people and injuring hundreds more.

The attacks were believed to have been staged by Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that had killed more than 1,000 people a few months earlier.

A specially designated court in Mumbai on Friday convicted the six for a range of offences.

Abu Salem, one of the key figures in the attacks, was found guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai ahead of the blasts.

But Judge GA Sanap acquitted all six on the most serious charge of waging war against the nation.

All six were found guilty of offences under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act and five were also convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder.

A seventh defendant, Abdul Qayyam, was acquitted of all charges.

Those convicted will be sentenced at a later date.

They could face the death penalty under the terrorism act, although Salem is expected to be spared execution.

He went on the run after the 1993 attacks and was only extradited from Portugal in 2005 after India assured Lisbon that he would not face the death penalty.

Salem is a former associate of Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most wanted criminal, who allegedly masterminded the 1993 blasts.

These are the latest convictions in a long-running case that at its outset involved 189 defendants.

One of the most high profile, Yakub Memon, was executed in 2015 — a decade after he was convicted under controversial anti-terror legislation that is no longer on the statute books.

The attack also embroiled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, who served time for buying weapons from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings before walking free last year.