1993 Mumbai serial blasts: In a landmark decision on Friday, six men responsible for the 1993 Mumbai blast were convicted by a special court in Mumbai. The accused comprise of Mustafa Dossa, Abu Salem, Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Karimullah Khan and Riyaz Siddiqui. Abdul Qayyum was the sixth member, was acquitted by special Judge GA Sanap. While talking to ANI, Qayyum said, “I request that the innocent be spared; India is my country and I will stay here only.” Qayyum was arrested by the Mumbai police in 2007. The court said that the evidence against Qayyum was not credible.
According to The Indian Express, Abu Salem had named Qayyum Sheikh as a close acquaintance of Dawood Ibrahim. He said, “When he had called a co-accused regarding the transportation of weapons, the man had told him that there is nothing to worry about as the weapons were of Anees and his friend Qayyum.” A confession from actor Sanjay Dutt also had a reference to Qayyum. He said, “Qayyum, a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, with whom he was acquainted in Dubai had met him at RK Studio. Qayyum was a stranger and both had shown him a 9mm pistol with ammunition and offered it to him which he purchased for Rs 40000.”
The trial for the first set of 123 accused had begun in 1995 with the verdict being announced in 2006. The accused had then filed an appeal before the Supreme Court which concluded in 2013. The apex court announced a death penalty to Yakub Memon, while sentencing capital punishments to 10 others and the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt. Memon met his faith in 2015 in Nagpur while these seven had a separate trial as they were arrested at the end of the first trial.
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Meanwhile, BJP leader S. Prakash told ANI, “After decades of trial, at last, some ray of hope in the Mumbai blast case can be seen. It has taken more than 25 years to convict the accused in the Mumbai blast case. Though the verdict came late but at last five of them have been convicted. I am sure Abu Salem will get the maximum punishment under the law. I expect him to stay behind the bars forever till his death.”