1993 Mumbai blasts death row convict Tahir Merchant dead
Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Takla, one of the convicts in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case who was sentenced to death, died at a hospital in Pune early on Wednesday, a police official said. Merchant, who was admitted to the Sassoon Hospital around 3 am after he complained of chest pain, died during treatment, the official said. He was lodged in the Yerawada prison.
"One (1993 Mumbai blasts) convict named Tahir Merchant, who was lodged in the Yerawada prison, was admitted to Sassoon Hospital after he complained of chest pain. However, he died there during treatment around 3:45 am," Dr. Bhushankumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General of Prisons Department said.
"Merchant was extradited to India from Abu Dhabi and was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2010 and he was serving his jail term in Yerwada central prison in Pune," an official said. According to the police, Merchant had arranged the finance for the blasts and was also linked to conspirators Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim.
In 2007, a special TADA court had convicted 100 accused, including actor Sanjay Dutt, in connection with the blasts. In September last year, a special court awarded death sentence to Tahir Merchant and Firoz Khan, while awarding life imprisonment to prime accused Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. The court had held that Merchant was amongst the main conspirators.
"The evidence proves the anguish, agitation, and frustration expressed by Tahir due to the situation prevailing in Bombay during the period of riots in January 1993," the court noted. He worked with absconding conspirator Tiger Memon, participated in several conspiracy meetings in Dubai. Tahir made travel arrangements, financed the stay and travel of several co-accused and facilitated their training in Pakistan, it noted.
"The role of Tahir in the conspiracy is prominent. He is one of the initiators of the conspiracy," the court had said in its ruling in June 2017.