Published On : Fri, Jun 16th, 2017

Terrorist Abu Salem convicted in 1993 Mumbai blasts case

Abu Salem
Mumbai: Terrorist Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa, key accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, have been found guilty of conspiracy and terror activities by a special court. The blasts caused the death of 257 people and left 713 seriously injured.

The convictions came as part of a judgement today in the second leg of the trial in the serial blasts case involving seven accused by a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA court in Mumbai.

Apart from Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, and Dossa, who was extradited from the UAE, the other accused are Mohammed Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Takla, Abdul Qayyum, Karimullah Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui and Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan.

In the first leg of the trial that concluded in 2007, the anti-terrorism court had convicted 100 people, out of which, 23 were acquitted. In 2015, Yakub Memon was hanged in connection with the same case.

Abu Salem, who was accused of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai, was arrested in Portugal in 2002. He was also responsible for giving weapons to actor Sanjay Dutt, who was accused in the case for the illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle, 250 bullets and some hand grenades at his residence on January 16, 1993.

The court had dropped certain charges against Salem in 2013 after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said those charges went against the extradition treaty between India and Portugal.

Though the hearing in the case began in 2007, it was delayed as three petitions were pending with the Supreme Court, one each filed by Mustafa Dossa and Abu Salem, and another by the CBI.

The court recorded statements of around 750 prosecution witnesses and 50 witnesses. Three accused including Abu Salem had confessed to their crime during investigations carried out by the CBI over the years into the blasts case.

On March 12, 1993, a series of 13 blasts in quick succession were carried at various locations in Mumbai and the suburbs killing 257 people and injuring around 700.

The prime targeted locations included the Air India Building, Bombay Stock Exchange, Zaveri Bazar, then existing five star hotels, Hotel SeaRock and Hotel Juhu Centaur, and others leading to public and private property worth Rs. 27 crore damaged.

This was the first ever terrorist attack in the world where RDX (Research Department Explosive i.e cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) was used on such a large scale since the Second World War.