1993 Mumbai serial blasts verdict today: How did Abu Salem meet Sanjay Dutt?
Mumbai city news: Abu Salem claims he did not know the van carried weapons, describes Sanjay Dutt’s reaction on seeing arms and ammunitionmumbai Updated: Jun 17, 2017 00:28 IST
Abu Salem, one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, tells the CBI about his journey from an electronics shop to a gangster.
Excerpts from his confession to the CBI:
“I was born on February 2, 1965 at Saraimir Ajamgarh. My father was a lawyer. When I was around six years old, my father was killed in an accident. I studied up to Class 9 at Alamgir. In 1986, I came to Mumbai and started living with my cousin, Akhtar Ali Ansari. I started to work at his shop in Musafir Khana. In 1986, Akhtar started his own shop -- Lufty Electronics at Arsha Shopping Centre, Andheri. Soon, I started running it. I got the customs notified licence to sell foreign goods at the shop. I met Aziz who had a shop at Mahim and who frequented our store in 1992. I learned that he sold gold and silver ornaments. Wanting to make more money, I started to buy jewellery from Aziz and sell it to jewellers in Kandivli and Andheri.
During the 1993 riots, Aziz called me to his shop and asked me to accompany him to collect silver in his white Maruti car. He didn’t tell me where we were going. More than two hours later, we stopped at a hotel at a place a little ahead of Bhiwandi. I don’t remember the name of the hotel. The Gujarati driver made an entry in the register and rented a room in the hotel. Aziz and the driver went around the hotel, while I stayed in the room. A few hours later, Aziz told me silver will be brought in a white Maruti van. He told me to collect the keys of that vehicle and handover the keys of our car to their driver.
“Sanjay Dutt took 2-3 rifles, hand grenades, a few bullets and magazines. Baba Chauhan took three rifles, magazines, hand grenades and bullets.”
The car, which was registered in Gujarat, reached the hotel a few hours later. A man, in his 50s, and a woman was sitting inside. I took the consignment, gave the keys, took their car keys and left.
We came to Mumbai in their van. On our journey back home, I asked Aziz who the man was. He told me he was Riyaz Siddiqui. We first went to Mahim to drop Aziz. The driver then dropped me outside Arsha Shopping centre and left from the spot, leaving the key in the vehicle. From there, I then returned to my home in Jogeshwari.
In the evening, I met Aziz at his home. He asked me to go with Samir and Hafin, owner of Magnum video, to the bungalow of actor Sanjay Dutt at Pali Hill, Bandra. Samir and Hanif spoke to Sanjay. Later, Aziz told me to go to Dutt’s bungalow the next day too, this time with Baba Chauhan, brother-in-law of Aziz; Samir and Hanif.
The next morning, I went of Baba Chauhan’s home. He told me to get the white van (with Gujarat registration number) that was parked outside Arsha Shopping centre to Magnum video office. Baba Chauhan came there in a white Maruti Van, which we got from Riyaz in Bhiwandi. Samir also reached there in his car. From there, we went to Sanjay Dutt’s house.
“By the end of 1993, Aziz instructed me to go to Dubai and live in his house there. Later, I moved to the US. In 2002, I was arrested from Lisbon (Portugal) and extradited to India on November 11, 2005.”
Dutt called for a tool kit, which he used to open the sides and flooring of the van. The vehicle had 9-10 rifles, 80-90 hand grenades, magazines and bullets. I was seeing these things for the first time. I was shocked. I was also scared as I thought Riyaz got silver in the van.
Sanjay Dutt, Baba and Hingora saw the rifles. Dutt took 2-3 rifles, hand grenades, a few bullets and magazines. Baba Chauhan took three rifles, magazines, hand grenades and bullets.
Baba and I put the remaining weapons back in the vehicle. Baba and Samir left, while I went to Aziz’s shop in Mahim. I left the van outside his shop.
After 2 to 3 days, Aziz asked me to go to Dutt’s home, with Hanif Kadawalla and his friend Manjoor Ahmed. Dutt gave me a bag containing 2 rifles, hand grenades and bullets. After keeping the van at Mahim, I telephoned Aziz and asked what was happening. Aziz told me there was nothing to worry and the material belonged to Anwarbhai and Qayyum. He asked me to keep quiet. I later learnt the material was sent by Anees Ibrahim Kaskar and his close acquaintance and friend Qayyum. As Aziz was Anees’ close friend, I kept quiet.
On March 12, 1993, when there were bomb blasts in the city, I was at my shop at Andheri. After some days, Aziz told me Baba Chauhan was arrested and asked me to leave the city. I left for Azamgarh with my wife. After staying there for 2 to 3 days, I moved to Lucknow. I got passports for us in fake names -- Akil Ahmed Azmi and Salima Azmi.
By the end of 1993, Aziz instructed me to go to Dubai and live in his house there. Later, I moved to the US. In 2002, I was arrested from Lisbon (Portugal) and extradited to India on November 11, 2005. I often saw Riyaz with Aziz and Anees in Dubai.”