One of India's deadliest terror attacks, the Mumbai bombings were a retaliation to the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya and the subsequent riots instigated by Hindu nationalists. Thirteen bombs were placed in locations including vehicles, hotel rooms, the Mumbai stock exchange, near a petrol pump, passport office and the office of India's national airline. They exploded across Mumbai over a two-hour span in a pattern echoed years later in terrorist attacks in Madrid.
In the investigations that followed, 686 witnesses appear before court, filling 13,000 pages with their testimony. The hearings began in June 1995 and ended in January 2003, with the judgment finally announced in 2007. The delay in the judgment was largely due to procedural matters. Those convicted include gangsters, smugglers, fishermen, customs officers, police officials, homemakers and a famous Bollywood actor. However, many more people, including the main conspirators, are still at large.
Tiger Memon, a gangster and the prime accused in the 1993 blasts, has not yet been captured and his whereabouts are unknown. Mr Memon and his family members are alleged to have put the blast plans together, co-ordinating them and arranging funds to pay for them. Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted gangster and listed as one of the most wanted men by Interpol, is also accused of having taken part in masterminding the blasts. Indian authorities believe Mr Ibrahim is hiding in Karachi, Pakistan, and have repeatedly demanded that he be handed over.
However, strained relations between the two countries have marred any progress in capturing Mr Ibrahim. Taher Mohammed Merchant, 54, is known to be a close aide of Mr Ibrahim and the pair grew up together in Mumbai. Mr Merchant is known to have moved to Dubai in the 1980s but was in constant touch with Mr Ibrahim, according to Indian authorities. * The National