The prosecution on Friday concluded its arguments against the second set of accused of 1993 serial blasts case, claiming it has proved the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt. Seven key accused – Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimullah Shaikh, Mohammad Tahir Merchant, alias Tahir Taklya, and Abdul Qayyum – are currently facing trial before designated TADA judge G A Sanap.
In the second trial, which has lasted more than six years, the prosecution relied heavily on confessions of the 129 suspects tried earlier. It also relied on evidence from 686 witnesses examined during the trial of the 129 – of which 100 were convicted – and 50 new witnesses.
In the trial against the seven key accused, the prosecution had trouble regarding the admissibility of evidence from the earlier trial as the defence had said this evidence had not been recorded before the seven accused.
However, special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi said that the issue was argued in the Supreme Court, which said the accused should have the opportunity to cross-examine all witnesses. Hence, Salvi said, all the evidence recorded against the 129 accused is admissible against the remaining seven too.
“The prosecution had made all the witnesses available for cross-examination unless they were dead or untraceable. Further, the accused cannot take advantage of their own wrongs. They choose to abscond and not come before the court and face trial. Hence they cannot now claim that since they were not present the evidence recorded in their absence cannot be used. The situation was created by them,” Salvi said.
He added that if the accused are allowed to take advantage of technicalities despite there being sufficient evidence against them, it will be an injustice to the victims. He also said it would affect any future trial against the absconding accused.