THE SPECIAL Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court is likely to pronounce its final judgment on ‘gangsters’ Mustafa Dossa, Abu Salem and five other accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case on June 16. Since some of the accused were absconding when trial in the case began, they are being tried separately. While the earlier set of accused included Yakub Memon, Sanjay Dutt and others, the undertrials at present include Dossa, Salem, Firoz Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui and Abdul Qayyum.
On March 12, 1993, 12 bombs ripped through Mumbai, killing 257 and leaving 713 injured. After the case was cracked by a Mumbai Police team led by former commissioner of police Rakesh Maria, a chargesheet was filed on November 4, 1993, against 189 accused before the special TADA court. The case was then transferred to the CBI and trial began in 1994 in a special court on the Arthur Road jail premises. According to the CBI, Dossa was extradited from the United Arab Emirates in 2003.
The court, therefore, ordered for him to undergo a separate trial, for charges including conspiracy, landing arms and explosives and sending men for training. Salem was extradited from Portugal in 2006 on allegations of being involved in transportation and distribution of arms and ammunition. His trial was clubbed to be heard with Dossa and the others arrested later. In 2006, the trial court began sentencing in the case. Twelve persons, including Yakub
Memon, were sentenced to death, while 20 were sent to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court in 2013 upheld Memon’s death sentence, commuting it to life imprisonment for 10 others. Memon was hanged in 2015. During the current trial before special Judge G A Sanap, Dossa had argued that since the evidence of the witnesses was recorded in the earlier trial, it could not be used against him, as he was never declared an absconder but was only arrested later. During closing of arguments in the case in July 2016, the CBI had argued that the accused should also be prosecuted and convicted for waging a war against the country.