The son of a Hindu father and Muslim mother,Sanjay Dutt said the weapons were necessary in order to defend his family during the Hindu-Muslim rioting of 1993 which had followed the destruction by Hindu zealots of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.
Pakistan has categorically rejected reports by Indian media regarding the judgment of the Indian Supreme Court implicating Pakistani government agencies in the deadly Mumbai blasts which killed 257 people in 1993.
A spokesman for the Pakistan’s Foreign Office “categorically rejected any insinuations pointing to the involvement of the Government of Pakistan or any of its agencies in any such activity,” said a press statement issued Thursday.
A number of Indian news outlets reported the Indian Supreme Court as ruling that Pakistan and its intelligence agencies were complicit in the attacks.
The Times of India reported the apex court as concluding that Pakistan and its spy agencies “played a vital role in imparting training” to the accused in the case. It quoted the court as saying that the conspiracy was “hatched by Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memom” and “executed with the help of Pakistani authorities.”
The court said “the accused were trained in bomb making and to handle sophisticated weapons in Pakistan,” ZeeNews reported. NDTV quoted the court as ruling that the “ISI was involved in the blasts”.
“Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism and has rendered immense sacrifices in the international fight against this menace,” said the Foreign Office.
“Pakistan has on numerous occasions offered cooperation to India in fighting terrorism through laid down bilateral mechanisms.”
The Pakistani Foreign Office added that a “detailed response could only be given once the (Indian Supreme Court) judgment had been studied in its totality.”
It added that the country remains committed to engaging with India “in a constructive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue process.” Famous Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was also one of the accused to be sentenced to a five-year jail term Thursday in the case.
Meanwhile, India’s top court upheld the death penalty on Thursday for a mastermind of the country’s deadliest series of attacks and ruled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt who bought weapons from the bombers must return to jail.
The judges handed down a five-year term for the actor Sanjay Dutt for possessing illegal weapons bought from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings. Dutt has already served 18 months but is currently out on bail.
India’s top court upheld the death penalty on Thursday for a mastermind of the country’s deadliest series of attacks and ruled Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who bought weapons from the bombers must return to jail.
Yakub Memon, brother of the alleged main plotter and fugitive Tiger Memon, was the only one of 11 convicts to see his death sentence upheld by the Supreme Court for his role in the 1993 blasts which killed 257 people in Mumbai.
The judges also handed down a five-year term for Sanjay Dutt for possessing illegal weapons bought from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings. Dutt has already served 18 months but is currently out on bail.
The son of a Hindu father and Muslim mother, Dutt said the weapons were necessary in order to defend his family during the Hindu-Muslim rioting of 1993 which had followed the destruction by Hindu zealots of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya.
Announcing the sentences, Supreme Court judge P Sathashivam said the Memon brothers and another suspect, Dawood Ibrahim, “were archers and the rest of the appellants were arrows in their hands”.
“They were the architects of the blasts,” Sathashivam, one of two judges presiding over the case, said.
The remaining convicts who had appealed against the death penalty saw their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
The attacks on March 12, 1993, were believed to have been staged by Mumbai’s underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that left more than 1,000 dead in the city a few months earlier.
Yakub, an accountant by profession, his brothers Essa and Yusuf and sister-in-law Rubina were all convicted for their involvement in the serial blasts at 13 different locations. The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of the national carrier Air India and the luxury Sea Rock hotel were among the targets. Executions are only carried out for “the rarest of rare” cases in India but President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a number of mercy pleas in the last few months, ending an unofficial eight-year moratorium.
Dutt, who was appealing against an original six-year term, spent 18 months behind bars before being bailed in 2007.
During a police raid, investigators uncovered a pistol and an AK-56 rifle which were part of the consignment of weapons and explosives. Dutt, a one-time heavy drug user who has a reputation as one of Bollywood’s bad boys, had admitted buying the weapons but insisted they were only meant to protect his family.
The 53-year-old in a statement said he “respected” the court’s verdict. “I have already suffered for 20 years and been in jail for 18 months. If they want me to suffer more I have to be strong,” he said.
“I am heart broken because today along with me, my three children and my wife and my family will undergo the punishment,” he said in the statement. “I have always respected the judicial system and will continue to do so, even with tears in my eyes,” he said and added that he was also “shattered and in emotional distress” following the court’s order.
The actor shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname “Deadly Dutt”.
Dutt’s first wife died of cancer while his second marriage, to a model, ended in divorce. He married for a third time in 2008.