Abu Salem alleges arms delivery to Sanjay Dutt

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Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arriving to appear before a TADA court in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt arriving to appear before a TADA court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

Supplementary charge sheet filed against gangster

"I was seeing all the material for the first time... I was stunned... till then I kept thinking that the material in the car was silver."

MUMBAI: In his confessional statement in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, the extradited gangster Abu Salem has narrated how arms were collected and delivered to actor Sanjay Dutt here. The statement, contained in a sealed envelope, was read out in the designated TADA court here on Wednesday.

The prosecution filed a supplementary charge sheet for offences allegedly committed by Abu Salem and another accused, Riaz Siddique.

In the statement, Salem said that in January 1993, after the communal riots in Mumbai, he went with one Aziz to collect silver. (Earlier he said he got into the business of gold and silver smuggling, as it was very profitable.)

At Bhiwandi, Salem, a Gujarati man and Aziz stayed overnight. They picked up a white Maruti van from a middle-aged man, later identified as Riaz Siddique. There was a woman with him.

Meeting with actor

From Bhiwandi, they drove to Mahim in Mumbai. The next evening, Salem said, he met Samir and Hanif, owners of Magnum Video, and along with them went to Sanjay Dutt's house at Pali Hill, Bandra. Samir, Hanif and Sanjay Dutt discussed delivery of the `material.' The next day Salem, Samir and Hanif, accompanied by Baba Musa Chauhan, went to Sanjay Dutt's house in the van. He asked for a toolkit, with which Chauhan and Salem opened the sides and flooring of the van. Salem said he saw 9 or10 rifles, 80 to 90 hand grenades, and magazines in the cavity.

"I was seeing all the material for the first time. After seeing that I was stunned. I was also scared as to what would happen because till then I kept thinking that the material in the car was silver," said Salem.

Salem then described how Sanjay Dutt took two or three rifles, hand grenades and magazines. A few days later, he gave the rifles back to Salem. Salem kept them in a bag in Jebunissa Qazi's house and then at another friend's house.

"I was asked to shut up"

When Salem asked Aziz about the weapons, he was told he should not worry and should not open his mouth. He was told that they belonged to Anees Ibrahim (Dawood's brother) and that Anees was a close friend of Aziz.

About the blasts, which killed 257 persons and injured several thousands, Salem said: "On March 12, 1993, when the blasts took place in Mumbai, I was at my shop in Andheri. I do not know how and why these blasts happened." He fled the city when Aziz asked him to leave, lest he be caught. After going along with his wife Sameera to his hometown Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Salem stayed in Lucknow and later went to Dubai, the United States and ended up in Lisbon, from where he was extradited.

Woman identified

The Special Public Prosecutor told the TADA judge that the prosecution had fresh evidence and identified the woman, who travelled with Riaz Siddique in the car carrying weapons from Bharuch. He said her statement had been recorded. The prosecution wanted to keep the names and addresses of witnesses confidential.

Following Abu Salem's confession, Riaz Siddique, who was declared absconding till now, has been made accused facing trial in the case.

The court will also hear about separating the trial of the six accused Abu Salem, Baba Musa Chauhan, Hanif Kadawala, Sameer Hingora, Sanjay Dutt and Jebunissa Qazi from the main trial, which has already concluded and in which the judgment is awaited.

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