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Verdict in 1993 Mumbai Blasts Delayed Until September

The final verdict on defendants charged for 1993 serial bombings in the western Indian city of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, has been put off until next month.

The bombings killed more than 250 people.

The verdict for 123 men and women who were on trial for the terror attacks had been expected Thursday.

But the public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, told reporters that although the judge has started reading the 1,300-page judgment, the verdicts will not be announced until September 12.

The trial began in 1995. Nearly 700 witnesses have given testimony. The hearings ended in January 2003.

Of the 123 defendants, 11 died during the trial, 36 are in jail and the rest were freed on bail.

The bombs targeted the stock exchange, Air India offices, a state passport office, three hotels, a gas station and a movie theater.

Police believed they were apparently revenge attacks 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.

The defendants include movie star Sanjay Dutt who spent more than one year in jail after two suspects testified he had bought an assault rifle from them. Dutt says he bought the rifle to protect his family.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.