Mumbai, March 21 (IANS) Top lawyers here hailed the Supreme Court verdict upholding the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case while commuting the death sentence of 10 others but also said action needs to be taken on his absconding brother Tiger Memon.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he is glad the death sentence of Memon has been upheld by the apex court.
“This should send out a message to Yakub’s brother Tiger and Dawood Ibrahim, who are believed to be hiding in Pakistan,” he said.
Advocate Farhana Shah, who defended a maximum number of accused in the case, said it is a relief that the death penalties of most of her clients have been commuted to life sentences.
“Even as the judgment came after 20 years, I am glad that the death sentences of the convicts have been commuted to life imprisonment,” she said.
Another defence lawyer Subhash Kanse said the verdict should be accepted with due respect.
Noted criminal lawyer Majid Memon, who is also the counsel of actor Sanjay Dutt, hailed the apex court for commuting the death sentence of the 10 convicts to life imprisonment.
“These men were in their 20s, when the blasts took place. They are only pawns, foot soldiers. We need to find and punish the masterminds. Moreover, they have already served 18-20 years in prison,” he said.
Sanjay Dutt, who was also 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.
Asked as to how the actor is handling the verdict, Satish Maneshinde, another of his lawyers, said the actor is a strong man and that he has accepted the punishment.
Maneshinde, who represented Dutt at the trial at TADA court in Mumbai, however, said lawyers will pursue the legal course available
“But Sanjay Dutt will abide by the apex court’s order of undergoing the sentence of three and a half years in letter and spirit. It is not a long period,” he said.
The actor, however, remained unavailable for comment even as mediapersons gathered in large numbers outside his residence in Bandra in northwest Mumbai.