First Rulings Handed Down From 1993 Mumbai Bombings

A special court found four members of the same family guilty Tuesday in the first verdicts in the case of India's deadliest terror attack, the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people.

Three other members of the Memon family were acquitted.

A total of 123 men and women were accused of involvement in the bombings. The judge has said the verdicts would be handed out in groups, taking up to two months.

The first to receive their verdicts were seven members of the Memon family.

One of the main accused, Ibrahim Memon, better known by the alias "Tiger Memon," has reportedly fled to Pakistan, though officials there deny that. His father, also accused, died during the trial.

Three of his brothers -- Yaqoub, Essa and Yusuf -- were found guilty of all charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and waging a war against the country. They could face the death penalty.

Rubeena Memon, wife of one of the brothers, was found guilty of abetting the acts.

Tiger Memon's mother, another brother, Suliman, and Yaqoub's wife were acquitted.

Sentencing for the four Memons wass expected on Wednesday.

The case has been one of India's lengthiest court trials, with 686 witnesses giving testimony that filled 13,000 pages. The trial began June 6, 1995, and hearings ended in January 2003. The delay in the judgment was largely over procedural matters.

The accused include gangsters, housewives and a Bollywood movie star.

The March 12, 1993 bombings ripped through the country's financial heart, and targeted some of the city's nerve centers -- the Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India offices, a state transport office, three hotels, a gas station and a movie theater.

The bombs, containing powerful explosives packed into cars, scooters, under a manhole cover and in a hotel room, were detonated over two hours in the afternoon.

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is India's commercial and entertainment capital.

The blasts were apparently in revenge for the demolition of a 16th century mosque in northern India by Hindu nationalists. The mosque's demolition sparked religious riots in many parts of the country, leaving more than 800 people dead, most of them Muslims.