updated 9/12/2006 9:53:44 AM ET 2006-09-12T13:53:44

Four family members were found guilty Tuesday in the first verdict in the prosecution of India’s deadliest terror attack, a string of bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993.

Brothers Yaqoub, Essa and Yusuf Memon were found guilty of all charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and waging a war against the country. They could receive the death penalty at sentencing, which was expected Wednesday.

Rubeena Memon, the wife of another brother, Suliman, was found guilty of abetting the attack.

Three other members of the Indian Muslim family were acquitted.

Stock Exchange targeted
The powerful bombs detonated over two hours on the afternoon of March 12, 1993, ripping through the country’s financial heart, and targeting the Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India offices, hotels and a movie theater, among other locations in India’s commercial and entertainment capital.

The blasts appeared to be 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 that left more than 800 people dead, mostly Muslims.

A total of 123 men and women have been accused of involvement in the bombings, allegedly orchestrated by a brother of the convicted men and an accomplice, both of whom are believed to have fled the country.

The Memon family ran a meat export business and also have real estate holdings. Yaqoub, an accountant, was one of the main financiers of the plot, police said.

The judge has said the verdicts would be handed out in groups, over as long as two months.

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

Judge: ‘Not a clean acquittal’ for three
Judge Pramod Kode said the three family members acquitted Tuesday were not entirely innocent.

“I have concluded that I will give them the benefit of the doubt. It is not a clean acquittal but it is short of being guilty,” he said.

After the verdicts were read, Yaqoub Memon attacked the judge in a fiery outburst laced with expletives.

“Innocent people have been made into terrorists,” he shouted. He was the only family member held in prison since being arrested in 1994. The others were released on bail.

One of India’s lengthiest trials, the prosecution began June 6, 1995, and hearings ended in January 2003 after 686 witnesses gave testimony that filled 13,000 pages. The delay in the judgment was largely over procedural matters.

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