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May 27, 2017

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India court stays execution over 1993 blasts that shook Mumbai

NEW DELHI--India's top court on Monday stayed the execution of a key plotter of the country's deadliest series of attacks.

Yakub Memon, brother of the alleged main plotter and fugitive Tiger Memon, had been sentenced to death for his role in the 1993 blasts which killed 257 people in Mumbai.

The attacks on March 12 that year were believed to have been staged by Mumbai's Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that left more than 1,000 dead in the city a few months earlier.

A panel of two Supreme Court judges referred Memon's petition against his sentence to a higher bench of the same court that will decide whether the review should be held in open court, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

In the meantime the "execution proceedings will remain stayed," one of the judges told the court.

Yakub Memon, an accountant by profession, his brothers Essa and Yusuf and sister-in-law Rubina were all convicted of involvement in the blasts at 13 different locations.

He has been in jail for two decades.

The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of the national carrier Air India and the luxury Sea Rock hotel were among the targets.

Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, the other alleged masterminds of the attacks, have been on the run since 1993.

Indian investigators say the plotters were helped by Pakistan's intelligence service, a charge denied by Islamabad.

The bombings also embroiled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt who was convicted and spent time in jail for buying weapons from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings.

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