The lawyer of extradited gangster Abu Salem today argued before the special TADA court here that his client was not a part of the conspiracy which led to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The court for Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act cases had last month convicted Salem and five others in the case. The court is now hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence. Seeking a lesser punishment for his client, Salem's lawyer Sudeep Passbola said there was no evidence that Salem was a part of the conspiracy, nor was there any evidence that he attended the meetings where the blasts were plotted. There was nothing to show that he was even in contact with the masterminds of the conspiracy, advocate Passbola said, adding, "Salem played a very limited role". Salem was not acting at the instructions of main conspirators Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon or Mohammed Dossa (all of them absconding), the lawyer added. It cannot be said that Salem was in a "commanding position" (among the blasts accused) just because he later absconded, the lawyer said, adding that the former gangster did not know why the arms and ammunition were being transported.
He learnt about it at a later stage, the lawyer claimed. According to the CBI, Salem was involved in transporting arms and ammunition which were smuggled into India prior to the blasts. The arguments will continue tomorrow. The special TADA court had on June 16 convicted six people and acquitted one in the case. In the first set of trial in connection with the 1993 blasts case, the court had convicted a hundred accused. The trial of Salem and others was separated as they were arrested later.
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