Separate trials against Abu Salem, others begin

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Mumbai, Apr 15 (UNI) The designated TADA court today commenced separate trials against extradited gangsters Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa alias Mustafa Majnu and two others while issuing summonsses to witnesses in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case.

Judge P D Kode issued the summonsses after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted the list of the witnesses. The summonsses were issued against two immigration officers, who had arrested Abu Salem and Dossa when they were deported from Dubai and Portugal respectively.

In Salem's case, the immigration officer will depose before the court tomorrow while in Dossa's case, the officer has been summoned to appear on April 22.

Two police officers, who had arrested Salem's associates Riyaz Siddiki and Abdul Qaum Ansari, have also been directed to appear before the court tomorrow.

During the first phase of the trial after convicting 100 accused in July last year, the court had ordered separate trials for Dossa, Salem, Siddiqui and Ansari as they were arrested towards the end of the trial. They are presently lodged at the Arthur Road Jail.

The convicted people include members of the Memon family, who masterminded the blasts, and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt for possessing one 9 mm pistol, an AK-56 assault rifle and its magazines. While the main conspirators -- fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon -- are still absconding.

The court had earlier turned down a CBI plea to club together the trials of Salem, Dossa, Siddiqui and Ansari.

Dossa, who was deported from Dubai on March 20, 2003, had allegedly participated actively in the blasts' conspiracy and the landing of weapons in Maharashtra's Raigad district prior to the blasts on March 12, 1993 that had left 257 people dead and 574 injured.

As per the evidence so far produced before the court, Dossa had not given any confessional statement, but he was named by various convicts like Salim Mira Shaikh for his involvement in the crime.

Salem, who was extradited from Portugal in 2005, allegedly delivered an AK-56 rifle at the residence of Dutt and various other weapons to the co-accused. Siddiqui and Ansari, too, are accused of delivering weapons at different places.

The CBI had recorded the statement of Salem, in which he had confessed to the crime. Also, Dutt and other convicts had named him and his associates for the role they played in the blasts.

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