The Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) Act court convicted gangster Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Tahir Merchant, Karimullah Shaikh, Feroz Khan and Riyaz Siddiqui in connection with the 1993 Mumbai said bomb blast incident which claimed 257 lives. All convicts were acquitted of the charge of waging war against the nation. Abu Salem was found guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai prior to the blasts. Thus a question which arises here is will Salem be awarded death sentence by the court like Yakub Memon?
The court had ordered for the release of Abdul Qayyum Shaikh who had accompanied Salem to deliver weapons. On the other hand, Mustafa Dossa was convicted on charges of conspiracy and murder and several sections of the IPC. He allegedly planned the landing of explosives, including Research Department Explosive or RDX, in India and sent some men to Pakistan to acquire arms training to execute the blasts.
Salem had delivered AK 56 rifles, few greenades to Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt who also has been found guilty of illegal possession of weapons at his residence in January 16. 1993. After two days Salem and his accomplice had gone to Dutt’s residence to reclaim two rifles and some rounds.
One hundred accused were convicted and 23 persons were acquitted by TADA court in the first leg of the trial. The trial of the seven accused — Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum — were separated from the main case as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial.
However, Salem is not likely to receive capital punishment due to an extradition treaty existing between the Portugal and India. The extradition took place when Abu Salem managed to exit the US and enter Portugal through Lisbon. The Portuguese judiciary had signed an extradition treaty with India wherein a clause mentioned Salem can’t be awarded death sentence by the Indian government as he has to complete his sentence.
“People who hatched the conspiracy with Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai got convicted. It is a good judgement and I am satisfied with it. People like Dossa and Salem, who got convicted, were involved in planning, conspiracy and finance in the Mumbai blasts,” said Rakesh Maria, former Police Commissioner of Mumbai.
The blasts were carried out to avenge the Babri Masjid demolition incident which occurred in 1992. Gangster Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar was the mastermind of the blast and it was carried out by his henchmen, absconder Tiger Memon. In 2013, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of Yakub Memon, the brother of Tiger Memon and one of the prime suspects in the bombings.
On March 12, 1993, a series of 12 blasts in quick succession rocked Mumbai, killing 257 people and injuring 713 others. Property worth about Rs 27 crore was destroyed. The blasts were the first-ever terrorist attack in the world in which RDX was used in such a massive-manner after the Second World War.
The blasts hit the Bombay Stock Exchange, Kalbadevi, Shiv Sena Bhavan, Air India building at Nariman Point, Fishermen’s Colony in Mahim, Worli Century Bazar, Zaveri Bazar, Hotel Sea Rock in Bandra, among other places.