First witness in separate Abu Salem trial deposes in court

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Mumbai, Apr 24 (UNI) The first witness in the separate trial of extradited gangster Abu Salem, an accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case, deposed before the designated TADA court here today.

The witness, whose identity has been kept secret and given a code name 'prosecution witness number 3', is an Immigration officer, who was on duty at Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport here on November 7, 2005, when Salem was extradited from Portugal.

During his examination-in-chief by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, the witness had furnished the details about Salem's arrival here and handing over of his custody to the CBI after clearing his immigration.

He said the CBI had informed him in advance about Salem's arrival from Lisbon. Therefore, his immigration was cleared immediately.

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

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

Earlier, during the separate trial of Siddiqui, the two witnesses, including a women, deposed before the court and furnished details about the two's involvement in the blasts, that rocked the metropolise on March 12, 1993 leaving 257 people dead and 574 injured.

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.

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