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Mumbai, May 21: Four former police constables were sentenced by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Act) Court in Mumbai on Monday to six years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000 each was imposed on them for allowing safe passage to a truck laden with arms and ammunition prior to 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Ex-constables Ashok Muneshwar, S Y Palshikar, R Mali and P Mahadik were found guilty of not thoroughly checking the truck in spite of intercepting it at Dongar Phata on the night of January 9, 1993, after it arrived on the Dighi coast.

This is the first sentencing of public servants in connection with blasts, which took place on March 12, 1993, that killed 257 people and injured over 700.

Special TADA Judge P D Kode did not accept the prosecution's plea for a maximum sentence of life imprisonment saying that the four ex-constables were subordinates of former police sub inspector V K Patil, another accused, who was the "main man" who took the decision to allow the truck to pass.

However, Judge Kode maintained that they should be given a punishment as it would send a wrong signal if they were shown leniency.

The court observed that the entire police party, stationed at the Srivardhan police station, had been paid a bribe of Rs 7 lakh for allowing the consignment to be cleared.

The court also observed that all four ex-constables had already undergone a period of about three years in prison and their imprisonment could be extended by a period of six months if they failed to pay the fine amount.

The four ex-constables had been held guilty by the court under Section 3 (3) of TADA for aiding and abetting terrorist activities, but were cleared on the charges of conspiracy.

The court had accepted the evidence produced by CBI to show that Rs 59,000 cash was recovered from ex-constable Mahadik and that this amount was part of the bribe offered to policemen by other accused in the case.

The bail bonds of the four ex-constables had been cancelled by the court and they have been in judicial custody after they were found guilty on September 26, 2006. 


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