The first appeal in the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case has questioned Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt's acquittal under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, (TADA).
Mohammad Ahmed Shaikh challenged his own conviction under TADA in the Supreme Court. He claimed the special court in Mumbai had discriminated against him, since it convicted Dutt under the Arms Act alone after arms and ammunition were seized from his house. Shaikh said he and others were accused of similar offences but convicted under Section 5 of TADA.
Dutt's sentence, under the Arms Act, calls for three years imprisonment. The TADA section under which Shaikh is convicted imposes life imprisonment as the maximum punishment.
The special TADA court found Shaikh guilty under section 5 of TADA and sentenced him to five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine Rs 25,000. Shaikh was convicted for concealing foreign-make arms at the Nariyalwadi graveyard at Mazgaon during the blasts. The weapons were recovered from the graveyard at Shaikh's instance.
Shaikh's appeal, filed through advocate Mushtaq Ahmad, challenged the recovery of the arms and ammunitions. He has also accused the special TADA court of discrimination. Shaikh claimed he had moved an application before the special court this February 11 seeking contempt proceedings against the CBI for suppressing material facts about the arms Dutt possessed.
Referring to the recent opinion of Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandeya Katju, Shaikh has also sought consideration of an important constitutional point that continuation of TADA cases even after its lapse violates right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
Shaikh is among 60 convicts whose sentence was recently pronounced by the trial court.