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1993 Mumbai blasts victims get justice after 24 yrs: Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa & others convicted

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 16 June 2017, 15:49 IST
(Husain Fawzan/ The India Today Group/Getty Images)

The fate of those accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, including Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa, has been sealed. The Special TADA Court announced its verdict on Friday convicting six. The quantum punishment is to be announced on Monday.

The court found Mustafa Dossa and Firoz Khan guilty of conspiracy and causing death and convicted them under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the Explosives Act.

Another accused Abdul Rashid Khan was also found guilty.

The other accused include –

– Abu Salem

– Karimullah Sheikh

– Mohammad Tahir Merchant aka Tahir Taklya

– Abdul Qayyum

The special court held Abu Salem as one of the main conspirators who supplied an assault rifle to actor Sanjay Dutt. Salem was also found guilty of supplying arms, ammunition and hand grenades to the co-accused.

Karimullah Sheikh was convicted on charges of smuggling arms. These arms landed at Shekadi in Raigad district and were brought to Mumbai.

Tahir Merchant was held guilty of facilitating the supply of arms and the training of the accused in Pakistan.

Looking back

The victims of the blasts have finally got justice after 24 years.

On 12 March 1993, Mumbai was shaken by 12 bombs that exploded at crowded places across the city claiming 257 lives and seriously injuring over 700 people.

Coordinated by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the blasts were considered to be in response to the communal riots in of December 1992 and January 1993.

The serial blasts were executed by Tiger Memon and his brothers.

The demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, resulted in series of riots across the country. The riots in Mumbai, according to the report of Shrikrishna Commission, claimed 900 lives and more than 2,000 people were injured.

Interestingly, the Mumbai Police had arrested one of the gangsters who was actively involved in the planning of the serial blasts in Mumbai, three days before they actually happened. However, his confession was written off by police.

The gangster, identified as Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh aka Gullu, was one of the 19 men handpicked by Tiger Memon. He was sent to Pakistan via Dubai in February 1993 for arms and bomb making training.

He had to surrender when he came back from Dubai on 4 March 1993 since his brothers were detained by the police.

In an attempt to get his brothers released, Gullu spilled the beans and revealed the plan to bomb important places in Mumbai including –

– The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)

– Sahar International Airport (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport)

Shiv Sena Bhavan

However, the police officials did not believe him. They said that he was lying to get his brothers released.

Tiger Memon, after the arrest, changed the date of blasts to 12 March, which, according to an earlier plan, were to be executed on Shiv Jayanti in April.

Between 1.30 and 3.40 PM  on that fateful day, a dozen of powerful bombs exploded across Mumbai at the BSE, Mandvi Branch of Corporation Bank at Masjid, Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Juhu Centaur, Hotel Airport Centaur, Air India Building, Zaveri Bazar, Shiv Sena Bhavan, Fisherman Colony, Mahim, Plaza Cinema, and the passport office.

What followed

After investigations, the Mumbai Police filed charge sheets against 129 people in connection with the serial bomb blasts. Out of them, 100 were convicted.

However, many of the convicts such as Tiger Memon are still at large. Seven members of Memon family, including Tiger and Yakub, were accused in the case, out of which four were convicted.

The Memon family had already escaped to Dubai. However, except Tiger, other family members including Yakub Memon, returned to India in 1994. They were arrested immediately and tried for involvement in the blasts and found guilty.

Yakub Memon, sentenced to death, was executed at Nagpur Central Jail on 30 July 2015.

Actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted for possessing arms was sentenced five years jail term. He was recently released from jail, eight months before the actual date due to good behaviour.

The then chief minister of Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar, who had shared 'misleading' numbers of blasts, later confessed that he did so to prevent an outburst of communal riots.

Some of the police and customs officials were also found guilty of deliberate negligence to facilitate transportation of RDX and AK56 Assault Rifles to Mumbai via Shekadi, the coastal village in Raigad district.

Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Khan, Taher Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui and Abdul Qayoom fled the country soon after the blasts. But they were extradited later.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 16 June 2017, 15:49 IST