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Published in the 16-30 Apr 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

'93 blasts 11th anniversary
Blast case await verdict

Mumbai: Eleven years ago, on March 12, a series of explosions shattered Mumbai, killing 257 people and injuring 713. The scars still remain in the hearts of those families who lost their dear and near ones. 

Altogether 122 accused, including Hindi film actor Sanjay Dutt, arrested for the crime and conspiracy, await the court's verdict. Eighty-six of them are out on bail. The trial in the designated Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act court has come to an end and the judge is making preparations to deliver the verdict, probably in May end, according to a defence lawyer Subhash Kanse.

The trial commenced on June 30, 1995, when accused turned approvers Mohammed Usman Jan Khan and Jamil Umar Khatlab unfolded the conspiracy leading to the serial explosions. When the trial began, the CBI had cited more than 3,000 witnesses, though it rested its case after examining 684 of them.
The chargesheet, which had run into 10,000 pages, was actually brought to court in many jeeps and Ambassadors. But the evidence, a staggering 13,000 pages, makes a truckload. Judge Kode also recorded the statements of each of the accused. The statements run into 9,000 pages. Besides, the CBI filed 7,000 pages as exhibits.

Last year the state government' paid Rs two lakh each to legal heirs of missing persons in the 1992-93 communal violence and subsequent serial bomb blasts, that rocked the metropolis.
 
Hanif Lakdawala
Mumbai

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