Mumbai: A special TADA [Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act] court on Friday found six persons guilty in the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, including deported mafia don Abu Salem, while one accused was acquitted.
Those found guilty are: Abu Salem who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, Mustafa Dossa who was deported from the UAE, Mohammed Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Takla, Karimullah Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui and Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan, said Public Prosecutor Deepak Salve.
Another prime accused, Abdul Qayyum has been acquitted of all the major charges, Salve told mediapersons. He had accompanied Salem to the home of film star Sanjay Dutt to deliver arms and ammunition and was arrested on February 13, 2007.
Special TADA Judge GA Sanap has fixed the next hearing on June 19, when the Special Court will fix the date for the arguments on the quantum of sentence for the guilty, he added.
Several conspirators and masterminds of the worst terror attack on the country including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his right hand man Chhota Shakeel and late Yakub Memon`s elder brother Tiger Memon are still absconding and are believed to be sheltered in Pakistan.
Yakub, the lone condemned convict in the case, had been hanged in Nagpur jail in 2015.
On the afternoon of March 12, 1993, a series of 13 blasts in quick succession went off at various locations in Mumbai city and suburbs, killing 257 people and injuring over 700 others.
Following is the detailed role of the six convicts in the case, whose trial was separated from the main one, which concluded in 2007:
Abu Salem: He went to Baruch in Gujarat in January 1993 along with an absconding accused for receiving arms, explosives and ammunitions. He got nine AK-56 rifles, 100 hand grenades and some bullets from Baruch in Gujarat and transported them to Mumbai by concealing them in fake cavities of a Maruti Van which was allegedly given to him by accused Riyaz Siddiqui.
Salem also delivered (along with two others) some arms and ammunitions to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt at his residence on January 16, 1993 and took back some of them two days later.
On August 13, 2013, TADA court let CBI drop some charges against Salem as per an extradition treaty between India and Portugal. His another application to marry a 26-year-old woman is pending with the court.
Mustafa Dossa: One of the masterminds of the March 12, 1993 serial terror blasts, he smuggled firearms, ammunitions, detonators, hand grenades and highly explosive substances like RDX into India.
Dossa, along with Tiger Memon and Chhota Shakeel, organised training camps in Pakistan and in India to impart and undergo weapon and arms training and handling of explosives. They also sent men from India to Pakistan via Dubai for arms training. He also attended many conspiracy meetings.
Tahir Merchant alias Taher Taklya: He attended conspiracy meetings in Dubai and motivated his associates to arrange men from Mumbai to be sent to Pakistan for arms training. He collected funds to procure arms and planned to set up an illegal arms manufacturing factory in India.
Riyaz Siddiqui: He arranged for a van with specially-crafted secret cavities, which had been used for transporting 9 AK-56 rifles, 100 hand grenades and some boxes of magazines from the godown at Baruch to Mumbai.
Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan: On January 8, 1993, two months ahead of the blasts, Mohammed Dossa (absconding brother of Mustafa Dossa) sent Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan and another accused to Alibagh and Mhasla to inform Customs officials and landing agents about the landing (of arms and explosives) that was to take place the next day. He also attended conspiracy meetings.
During the fag end of the trial, in May last year, he sought to become an approver. However, the court rejected his plea after the CBI told the court that it has enough evidence against all the accused and they don`t need any approver.
Karimulla Khan: Karimullah attended conspiracy meetings. He also played an active role in landing of consignments comprising arms, ammunitions, detonators, hand grenades and RDX that took place in Shekhandi in Raigad Maharashtra ahead of the blasts. According to prosecution, Karimulla had informed another accused that he was going to Pakistan for arms training via Dubai.
Abdul Quayyum was let off for want of evidence against him.