Court separates Salem, Bombay blasts trial

Staff Reporter

Next hearing on Salem's trial on July 3 Bombay blasts trial has been on for 13 years Enough evidence against Sanjay Dutt

MUMBAI: The Terrorist and Disruptive (Prevention) Act (TADA) court hearing the 1993 Bombay Blasts trial passed an order separating the trial of Abu Salem from the ongoing blasts trial. Judge P.D. Kode's order has put to rest speculation about the verdict of the ongoing trial due to the arrest of Salem.

Breach of treaty alleged

In their plea for a joint trial defence, the lawyers contended that the police had violated the conditions in the extradition treaty as Salem was brought only for trial. The investigation amounted to their breach. They submitted that the trial should be held with the other accused as otherwise there might be prejudice against Salem.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said this was a conspiracy to prolong the hearing. The trial has been on for the last 13 years. The next hearing on Salem's trial is on July 3.

Advocate Farhana Shah representing several of the accused including actor Sanjay Dutt, confirmed that Dutt's trial would not be separated.

Dutt's case to remain unaffected

Abu Salem's confession naming Sanjay Dutt had aroused curiosity about how it would affect the case. Superintendent of Police P.P. Nikam said the prosecution had enough evidence against Dutt and the case against the actor will not be affected.

Advocate Shah said the value of Salem's confession would be ascertained only at the end of the trial.

She said the additional evidence did not pertain to the other accused facing trial and so separation of trial will prevent delay in the ongoing trial.

Siddique to be tried separately

Riaz Siddique, another accused who allegedly helped Salem acquire and distribute firearms will be tried separately as he was arrested in view of fresh evidence collected after the interrogation of the extradited gangster.

He is facing charges for offences punishable under sections section 120-b (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Salem will be tried for offences punishable under Section 3(3) (collecting and distributing arms and ammunition to co-accused), 5 (possessing firearms and weapons) and 6 (transporting and storing firearms and weapons) of TADA, Section 3 and 4 read with section 6 of Explosive Substances Act (possessing and transporting explosives), Section 3 and 7 read with Section 25 (1-A) (1-B) (a) of the Arms Act (possessing and carrying firearms and explosives) and 120-b (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

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