Asia

Indian court convicts six over 1993 Mumbai blasts

The men were convicted for their role in the 1993 attacks that killed 257 people and injured hundreds.

Mustafa Dossa, convicted for his role in the 1993 attacks, sits inside a police van [Punit Paranje/AFP]

An Indian court on Friday convicted six people of involvement in an attack in Mumbai in 1993 in which 12 powerful bombs packed in cars, scooters and suitcases killed 257 people and injured hundreds of others.

The court found the six men - Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Feroz Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui and Karimulla Khan - guilty on charges of criminal conspiracy, transporting weapons and murder, which are punishable by a maximum penalty of death.

The court is to announce sentences next week.

A seventh defendant - Abdul Qayoom Shaikh - was acquitted of all charges.

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The six are the second group to be tried in the blasts. More than 100 people were found guilty in the main trial that ended in 2007. Eleven people were sentenced to death and the rest received various jail terms and fines.

Prosecutors said the bombings were an act of revenge for the demolition of a 16th-century mosque by Hindu nationalists in northern India in 1992.

That triggered riots in parts of India, leaving more than 800 dead, mostly Muslims.

The 1993 blasts - which remain India's most devastating attack - hit a number of prominent targets in Mumbai, India's financial capital, including the stock exchange, the headquarters of Air India, hotels, a cinema, and shopping bazaars. 

Prosecutors claim the bombings were masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted criminal, and were carried out in revenge for the demolition of the Babri mosque.

India accuses Pakistan of sheltering Ibrahim, a charge Islamabad denies. India says he has been living in Karachi, Pakistan's financial hub, and has asked Pakistan several times to hand him over to face trial in India.

Source: News agencies