Mumbai blasts case: Dutt says will look at all legal options to deal with SC verdict
New Delhi/Mumbai, Mar.21 : Maintaining that he was not a terrorist and reiterating that he is a patriotic lover of his country, actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday said he was still coming to terms with the Supreme Court's verdict to uphold a TADA court's sentence to send him to jail for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
The actor, who was convicted under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons, had been awarded six years imprisonment by the TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court. However, the apex court reduced the sentence from six years to five years.
This effectively means that Dutt will be in jail for three years and six months as he has already undergone 18 months imprisonment.
Issuing a statement hours after the apex court's verdict, Dutt said he would be looking at all legal options to secure his release from jail and a vindication of his honour.
"I have already suffered for 20 years and served 18 months in jail. If they want me to suffer, I have to be strong," Dutt said.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and commuted the death sentence of 10 others twenty years after the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.
The apex court also upheld the conviction of Dutt under the Arms Act and sent him to five years in prison.
While confirming Yakub Memon's death sentence, the bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said his "deeds can't be viewed distinct from the act of Tiger Memon, hence, both owe an equivalent responsibility for the blasts".
The 13 blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993, claimed 257 lives and left 713 injured.
The judges also slammed Pakistan for aiding and abetting the acts of terrorism in infringement of international obligation as a member of United Nations.
The court described the Memon brothers as the "driving spirit" and "architects of the blasts, without whom the plan would have never seen the daylight". While Yakub is in a Nagpur jail, Tiger Memon is believed to be in Pakistan along with fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim.
Referring to the 10 accused whose death sentence was commuted, the court said: "Since Yaqub Memon as well as other absconders were the real conspirators who hatched the scheme for such a tragic act, the other 10 appellants were mere subservient subordinates whose knowledge and acquaintance might have been restricted to their counterparts."
"Yaqub Memon also played an active role in generation and management of funds for achieving the object behind the conspiracy and in all subsequent events," the court said.
"We confirm the death reference with regard to Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and commute the death sentence into life imprisonment for rest of the appellants" who were convicted and sentenced to death by the TADA court, the judges said.
The court clarified that the 10 would be "imprisoned for life until their death".
Anticipating a move to grant remission of sentence to the 10, the court said: "We may add a footnote to the above conviction that the executive should take due consideration of judicial reasoning before excising the remission power."
Those whose death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment are Zakir Hussain Noor Mohd. Shaikh, Abdul Khan @ Yakub Khan Akhtar Khan, Firoz @ Akram Amani Malik, Mohammed Mushtaq Moosa Tarani, Asgar Yusuf Mukadam Shahnawaz Abdul Kadar Qureshi, Mohammed Shoeb Mohammed Kasam Ghansar, Abdul Gani Ismail Turk, Parvez Nazir Ahmed Shaikh and Mohd. Farooq Mohammed Yusuf Pawale.