The Special TADA Court on Saturday framed charges against extradited don Abu Salem and co-accused Riyaz Siddiqui in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on March 14 had proposed charges against Salem and Siddiqui before the designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court for the blasts, which killed 256 people and injured 713.
In all, eight charges—including criminal conspiracy—have been framed against Salem. Of these, five are from the TADA Act and three from the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act, which include possessing, transporting and distributing arms and ammunition with an intention to carry out terrorist activities.
Salem has been charged with criminal conspiracy and abetting and facilitating commission of terrorist acts between January and March 1993.
Siddiqui has also been charged with criminal conspiracy and facilitating commission of terrorist acts. The CBI had already filed an 84-page supplementary chargesheet against Salem and Siddiqui on March 1. Siddiqui retracted his confessional statement on March 7. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The prosecution said that in the second week of January 1993, Salem had gone to Bharuch in Gujarat with absconding accused Aziz Bilakhia to collect arms and transport them to Mumbai.
He also collected nine AK-56 rifles, 100 hand grenades, cartridges and magazines from Sansrod village near Bharuch, Gujarat, and transported them to Mumbai via Bhiwandi, Thane, concealed in false cavities in a Maruti van.
Salem, along with Baba Chauhan and Magnum Video co-owner Samir Hingora, delivered 9 AK-56 rifles and some hand grenades to actor Sanjay Dutt at his Bandra house in the second week of January 1993, the prosecution said.
A few days later, at the instance of absconding accused Aziz and Anees Ibrahim, Salem and co-accused Manzoor Ahmed and Hanif Kadawala took 2 AK-56 rifles from Dutt’s house and kept them at Zaibunnisa Kazi’s house at Vindyachal Apartments at Bandra.
Since the arms were in Salem’s possession and control, and were intended to endanger lives and cause serious damage to property in India, he has been charged under the TADA Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Arms Act.
These Acts also applied because of his participation in transporting arms and ammunition from Gujarat and delivering them to Dutt, the prosecution said.