The case of Eshan Qureshi, the man who was sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment on Tuesday, has many similarities with Sanjay Dutt’s.
The two convicts in the 1993 serial blasts trial had both illegally possessed weapons for but were held guilty under different laws.
Qureshi claims to have feared for his life and that of his family after the communal riots in the city and the serial bomb blasts. He purchased a pistol from one of the co-accused. A resident of Pathan Wadi in Malad, he bought the weapon from convict Feeroz Mallik. Later he tried to dispose it of near the Mahim creek but was caught .
Based on the confessional statement of Mallik, who had told the police that he had sold the weapon to Qureshi, the designated TADA court convicted Qureshi.
Dutt had possessed an AK-56 rifle and a pistol, which he had allegedly purchased from a person called Qayyub, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim. Dutt had given the pistol and AK-56 to his friends to destroy. Dutt, in his confessional statement, had said that he possessed an AK-56 rifle but the court convicted him under the Arms Act after partially accepting his confessional statement.
“The court has convicted Qureshi under TADA and surely the court will have its own reasoning, which we will come to know only after going through the detailed order copy,” defence lawyer Farhana Shah said. “Only then can we take further steps.”