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  Metros   Mumbai  08 Sep 2017  Kin of convicts’ call punishment ‘harsh’

Kin of convicts’ call punishment ‘harsh’

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Sep 8, 2017, 1:41 am IST
Updated : Sep 8, 2017, 1:41 am IST

Abdul Ahad son of accused Riyaz Siddiqui said that his father has already served over 10 years in jail.

Taher Merchant’s family was spotted outside the special TADA court where the sentencing took place.
 Taher Merchant’s family was spotted outside the special TADA court where the sentencing took place.

Mumbai: Relatives of the 1993 serial blasts convicts were aware that the court would pronounce quantum of punishment on Thursday, but the moment the TADA court awarded death sentences to Taher Merchant and Firoz Khan, the duo’s relatives who were seated in the court corridor started howling. “We didn’t expect such a harsh punishment. Now what option do we have other than to approach the Supreme Court?” said Mohammad, a relative of Merchant.

“The court has handed over death sentence to my husband, but we can go to the Supreme Court and above all, God who is sitting up there,” said Firoz’s wife who did not wished to be named.

Airing a similar view, the two sons of Karimullah Khan said, “We are shocked that our father has been given life sentence. People like Ajaz Pathan and other co-accused who were facing more severe charges were awarded 10-years of imprisonment.”

Abdul Ahad son of accused Riyaz Siddiqui said that his father has already served over 10 years in jail. Siddiqui is also facing trial in the Pradeep Jain (murder) case. “The court is expected to pronounce quantum of punishment in that case tomorrow so we have to wait and watch,” Abdul Ahad said.

Special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi, who represented the CBI in court, said that he had expected death sentence for Karimullah too. “We will study the judgment to decide if we can file an appeal for enhancement of punishment for the convicts,” he said.

Retired CBI DIG, O.P. Chhatwal, who had investigated the case said, “As per the law, Abu Salem could not have been awarded death sentence because death penalty has been abolished in Portugal. India had assured Portugal, which extradited Abu Salem in 2005, that he will not get a jail term above 25 years.” Mr Chhatwal said that the CBI will examine the judgment and see if there is any ground for moving the Supreme Court seeking enhancement of punishment to convicts.

Suresh Walishetty, investigator, who was part of the team that cracked the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts said, “Two have been given capital punishment but they might take opportunity of seeking leniency from the SC citing the stand taken in case of the 10 planters whose capital punishment was reduced to life.”

Tags: tada court, 1993 mumbai blasts case, abu salem