1993 Mumbai blasts convict Taher Service provider dies in Pune

MUMBAI: convict Taher Merchant (56), who had been handed out death sentence by a trial court, died in Pune early on Wednesday.

Merchant, who had been convicted and sentenced last September by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (Tada) court in the second leg of trial, was lodged at Yerawada prison in Pune. The sentence has yet to be confirmed by the Supreme Court where the matter is pending.

Additional director general, prisons told TOI on Tuesday that Merchant was admitted in Sassoon hospital at about 3am due to chest pain. “He died in hospital during treatment at about 3.45am,” he said.

Earlier last year before sentencing, another co-accused Mustafa Dossa had died in Mumbai. He was at Arthur Road and admitted to JJ hospital following chest pain.

Taher Merchant and Feroze Khan were the only two convicts sentenced to death by hanging out of five convicted in a separate trial held for seven, including extradited accused Abu Salem, for their role in the 1993 bomb blasts that took the number of convicts sent to gallows in Maharashtra to 55.

Taher Mohammed Merchant alias Taher Taklya was charged with criminal conspiracy and offences under Tada to cause the March 12, 1993 Mumbai blasts in which 257 persons died and over 700 were injured. He was charged for having participated in conspiracy meetings in Dubai and Mumbai and arranged men from Mumbai to be sent for arms training to Pakistan.

He was held guilty and given the death sentence by Special Tada Judge G A Sanap.

Salem (48) has been sentenced to life and Karimullah Khan too has got life term.

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