1993 serial blasts trial: Witness identifies Salem's associates

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Mumbai, Apr 22 (UNI) The first witness in the separate trial of Riyaz Siddiqui, an associate of extradited gangster Abu Salem and accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts, today identified him in an identification parade held in the trial court room.

Deposing before designated TADA judge P D Kode, a lady prosecution witness, during the identification parade, said in January 1993, she along with Siddiqui and Salem had travelled to Bharuch in Gujarat in a Maruti 1000 car.

During her examination in chief, the witness said after spending a night in Bharuch, they came back in a Maruti van to Mumbai. She also said she was not aware of the motive behind Siddiqui's and Salem's visit to Bharauch, but accompanied them as they were her friends.

According to the prosecution's case, Siddiqui and Salem had brought a consignment of arms in a Maruti van to Mumbai and distributed the same among other accused, including film star Sanjay Dutt.

The examination in chief will continue tommorrow.

With the deposition of the first witness, the separate trial for Salem and his associate began today.

In a related development, the witness who was summoned today to give evidence against Dubai-deported accused Mustafa Dossa alias Mustafa Majnu, could not depose as the court's time was over.

Dossa, Salem and his two accomplices -- Riyaz Siddiqui and Abdul Qaum Ansari -- were arrested after the designated court had concluded its first phase of trial, when Judge P D Kode convicted 100 accused, including members of the Memon family, who had masterminded the blasts and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

The final verdict in the blasts case is awaited, with the court separating the trial of the four accused from the other accused, who had faced the trial for fourteen years.

The blasts that occurred on March 12, 1993 leaving 257 people dead and 574 injured.

Salem is accused of delivering an AK-56 rifle at the residence of Sanjay Dutt and various other weapons to other co-accused.

Siddiqui and Ansari are accused of delivering weapons at different places.

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