September 7, 2017 / 2:52 PM / 19 days ago

Court sentences two Mumbai 1993 blasts convicts to death

A police van waits to transport convicts guilty of involvement in a series of blasts in 1993, to a court in Mumbai, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A court on Thursday sentenced to death two men convicted of involvement in India’s most deadly bombings, a series of blasts in Mumbai that killed 257 people in 1993, while two others were jailed for life.

Investigators said the bombs were ordered by India’s most wanted man, gangster Dawood Ibrahim, to avenge the demolition of the historic Babri mosque in north India by Hindu hardliners in 1992, during a period of religious conflict.

Ibrahim is believed to be hiding in Pakistan. Pakistan denies that.

The court sentenced Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Taher Merchant to death, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were jailed for life, a lawyer for the federal police, Deepak Salvi, told reporters.

Abu Salem (C) leaves a court in New Delhi May 22, 2007. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

A fifth man, Riyaz Siddiqui, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Salvi said.

Lawyers for the convicted men did not answer their telephones, and it was not immediately known if they would appeal against the sentences.

Legal proceedings against those accused of being involved in the bombings have resulted in more than 100 convictions, most of which are still winding their way through the legal system because of appeals and commutations of sentences.

One suspect in the case, Yakub Memon, was hanged in 2015.

In June, a court had ruled the five guilty of involvement in the blasts that shook India’s financial hub more than two decades ago. A six man also found guilty at that time died in prison before sentencing.

Reporting by Rafael Nam; Additional reporting by Swati Bhat; Editing by Robert Birsel

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