A Mumbai anti-terror court which convicted today six persons, including extradited gangster Abu Salenm and "terror mastermind" Mustafa Dossa in the 2nd phase of the trial in the 1993 Mumbai serial terror blasts, has attributed them of a wide range of roles in the offence.
The trial of Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum was separated from the main case as they were arrested subsequently. Quayyum was acquitted today.
Following are Special Judge G A Sanap's observations about roles of six convicts.
MUSTAFA DOSSA: The court held that Dossa "actively, wilfully, deliberately and consciously" participated in the first meeting (held at residence of his elder brother Mohammed Dossa in Dubai) "which gave birth to the original design of the heinous criminal conspiracy to take revenge against the Government and the Hindus" for demolition of Babri Masjid.
"For achieving the object of the conspiracy he took the first step and sent arms and ammunition from Dubai and Pakistan to Dighi (in Raigad district) on January 9, 1993," the court said.
The two Dossa brothers made travel arrangements for the co-accused Feroz Khan and others to travel to Dubai and their stay. At the behest of (absconding accused) Dawood Ibrahim, Mustafa made arrangement for co-accused's travel to Pakistan for terror training, the court noted.
Dossa also gave some of the AK-56 rifles, which landed at Dighi, to (absconding conspirator) Tiger Memon. These weapons were used to impart training to several co-accused. The plan was to use these rifles to open fire at Mumbai civic body's (BMC) headquarters and other places to kill political leaders and senior police officials, the court said.
ABU SALEM: The court held that prosecution has proved that Salem was one of the main conspirators and he delivered three AK-56 rifles and ammunition and hand grenades to the actor Sanjay Dutt (convicted in earlier phase of trial under the Arms Act).
Salem, who was close to (Dawood's brother) Anees Ibrahim and Dossa, took upon of himself to bring a part of arms and ammunitions from Dighi to Mumbai, the court said. This was "vital towards achievement of the conspiracy so that the weapons could be used to terrorise and torment innocent citizens of India," the court said.
FIROZ ABDUL RASHID KHAN: The court rejected his defence that he was not Firoz Khan but one 'Hamza.' The prosecution proved that he was a prominent and "trusted" member of the Dossa gang, and participated in all the "landings" of weapons effected by Dossa brothers in Raigad district.
Firoz was present for negotiations with customs officers for smooth landing of arms and ammunition. He, with "vengeful perseverance in his sinew with a view to carry the blueprint of the plan into reality spearheaded the pre-landing arrangements."
Prosecution has proved that he was one of the main conspirators, the judge held.
TAHIR MERCHANT: The court held that Tahir too was amongst the main conspirators.
"The evidence proves the anguish, agitation and frustration expressed by Tahir due to situation prevailing in Bombay during the period of riots in January 1993," it noted.
He worked with (absconding conspirator) Tiger Memon, participated in several conspiracy meetings in Dubai. Tahir made travel arrangements, financed the stay and travel of several co-accused and facilitated their training in Pakistan, the court noted.
"The role of Tahir in conspiracy is prominent. He is one of the initiators of the conspiracy," said the judge.
KARIMULLA KHAN: The court held that he was "number two" in (convict) Ejaz Pathan's gang.
Karimulla was present in meetings between Tiger Memon and Ejaz Pathan where "Tiger told them about the sufferings of Muslims... And the arrangement to be made for the landing of arms at Shekadi (beach) to take revenge against the government and the Hindus," the judge said.
Karimullah had knowledge of conspiracy, he helped in landing of arms and ammunition at Shekadi beach, and knew that Tiger Memon had arranged weapon training in Pakistan.
RIYAZ SIDDIQUI: The court held that prosecution failed to prove the charge of conspiracy against him. He was convicted under TADA for helping Salem and others in transportation of arms.
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