1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict walks out a free man

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 16 April 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: AshrafurRehman Azimulla Shaikh, a convict in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts whose life sentence was reduced by the Supreme Court to ten years, walked out a free man on Thursday. But his exit from the Aurangabad jail last week spelt both happy and sad news for his family. His son Faisal who had come to receive him at the jail, diedon the spot after he met with a fatal car crash soon after they left for Mumbai on the highway. The father took the bus with a sleeper coach to the city, while the son was in the car.

AshrafurShaikh who had been convicted by the Tada Court in 2006 for recovery of large number of weapons and ammunitions including 85 hand grenades and 3270 live cartridges of AK-56 rifles and 350 detonators from three suitcases at his behest from an open unused lavatory at Musafir Khana in Mumbai had left the jail after completing his ten years' imprisonment.

The other occupant in the car is in a serious condition in a hospital, said a family member.

Shaikh is over 70 years old and his counsel Shree Prakash Sinha had requested the SC to consider his age, his ailing health and the fact that the CBI had no evidence to show that he had used the weapons for the blast or any crime. Sinha also said that Shaikh had no criminal antecedent and no adverse report during trial where he underwent eight and half straight years in jail without remission. He had argued that the special Trial court had been wrong on giving him a harsh maximum sentence for possession under Tada when the minimum is five years. The CBI however had also filed an appeal seeking a harsher punishment of deathagainst him which the SC dismissed.

The SC in its judgment last month observed that even the CBI mentioned that the arms, though smuggled in were kept in an open lavatory, accessible to all persons visiting the Musafirkhana for any purpose. The SC held that the CBI failed to prove that the contraband was used in any crime by Shaikh and it said taking note of his age and conduct too, "ends of justice would be met by reducing the sentence to 10 years' RI while upholding the conviction.''

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