A Special Terrorism And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court on Friday convicted Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Tahir Merchant, Karimullah Khan and Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan in the 1993 Mumbai blast case that killed 257. Salem has been convicted for conspiring and terror activities. He has been convicted under the arms and explosives act. Abdul Qayyum has been acquitted and the court has ordered his immediate release.
Salem was accused of going to Gujarat to receive arms and that he collected nine AK 56 rifles, 100 grenades and cartridges. Some of these arms were delivered to Sanjay Dutt. Salem was detained in Lisbon in 2002 and extradited in 2005.
Tahir Merchant, a former hawala operator, has been convicted for conspiring in the case. His house in Dubai was used for those who were being trained in the attack. The court is still pronouncing the verdict for the two other accused.
The court had earlier ordered the seven — Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui, Abdul Qayyum Shaikh and Karimullah Khan — to be tried separately, as they were arrested by police between 2003 and 2010 which was towards the end of the first trial. They faced charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the Government of India and murder under Sections of the Indian Penal Code, under the now repealed TADA Act, and under relevant Sections of the Indian Explosives Act and Explosive Substances Act. Get LIVE updates here.
Abu Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2005. Having been sentenced to life imprisonment in another case, he is currently lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Raigad. The CBI claimed it extradited Dossa from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2003, after which the court ordered him to undergo a separate trial for charges including conspiracy and transportation of arms. What is the case? Read here.
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the Memon family are believed to be the masterminds behind the attack. Dawood, Tiger and Ayub Memon are still absconding. Yakub Memon was nabbed by police and sentenced to death by the court. He was hanged on July 30, 2015 in Nagpur Jail. After years of trial, 100 people have been convicted by the court, several of whom are still missing. Read what’s happened in the case so far here.
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was convicted in the case after the court found him guilty of illegal possession of arms in 2006. His sentence was reduced to five years in jail; he was released in February 2016 after serving his sentence in Yerwada jail.
The terrorist attack was believed to be in response to the 1992 communal riots, which were triggered after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and subsequent construction of a make-shift temple in its place. The CBI, in its chargesheet, said the attack was planned and executed as ‘revenge’ to the riots that killed many Muslims. The agency claims the objective of the attack was to ‘strike terror in the people’ and to ‘adversely affect the harmony’ among different sections of society.