A sessions court in Mumbai acquitted two men, said to be involved in a plot to kill film producer Manmohan Shetty in May 2001. Shetty was then the owner of Adlabs Studios.
According to the police, members of Abu Salem gang were trying to extort money from him and when that failed they decided to eliminate him.
There were seven accused in the case but the trial of the two who have been acquitted was separated from the rest. The duo, Zamir Ahmed and Mushir Ahmed Iraqi, was arrested from Azamgarh in March 2006. They were caught by the Crime Branch after Salem said in an interrogation that they had arranged for the weapons that were to be used in attacking Shetty.
Salem was extradited to India from Portugal in November 2005 and has been in custody since then. "He was shown as an absconder in this case," said defence advocate Shahid Azmi.
Salem is currently being tried only for three cases against him in Mumbai as per the terms under which he was extradited-that of ferrying arms to Mumbai before the serial blasts of 1993, the murder of Manisha Koirala's secretary Ajit Dewani and killing of builder Pradip Jain.
Session's Judge P V Ganediwala acquitted Ahmed and Iraqi on May 2 after refusing to rely upon telephone transcripts that were submitted in support of the prosecution's case. Police said it had recorded conversations of Salem gang members in which they were planning to kill Shetty.
Thereafter five men-Nurul Qadri, Salim Jamadar, Arif Akbar, Siraj Shaikh and Mohammed Ghous-were arrested in a trap laid by police at fame Adlabs in Andheri. Some weapons and cartridge were also allegedly recovered from them.