Dutt’s acquittal under TADA Act wrong: M N Singh | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Dutt’s acquittal under TADA Act wrong: M N Singh

Former police commissioner MN Singh, who was posted as the joint commissioner of police (crime) during the 1993 serial blasts, headed the special task force (STF) that investigated the case. Singh and his team completed the investigation, spanning across half a dozen states and three countries and filed the chargesheet within eight months. HT spoke to Singh about Thursday’s verdict.

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2013 02:10 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

What is your reaction to the Supreme Court verdict?
We are professionals and did our job. This judgment has given me professional satisfaction.

What was your first reaction when the serial blasts took place on March 12, 1993?
I had not seen anything like that till then. The entire city appeared to be under attack by an invisible enemy. Cars and scooters were exploding, we didn’t know what to do.

You were earlier of the opinion that the acquittal of actor Sanjay Dutt under TADA was wrong. Do you still hold this view?
Yes, it was wrong. Although he was prosecuted and tried under TADA Act, the trial court convicted him only under the Arms Act. As per the police, Dutt’s acquittal under the TADA Act was wrong and the state should have appealed against it, which it did not.

How did you manage to file the charge sheet just within eight months considering the magnanimity of the investigation?
As per law, we were supposed to file it within six months, but we were forced to take a two-month extension. The crime branch and even some police stations were mobilised for the investigation while Rakesh [Maria] was conducting his operations simultaneously. I was heading the STF, involving officials from the R&AW, IB and CBI. My job was to co-ordinate and piece everything together. The central agencies helped us in unraveling links abroad and in compiling the charge sheet.

What in your opinion was the most challenging aspect of the investigation?
The first task was to establish who was responsible for it. Thankfully we made an early breakthrough. Second, was to get information about a huge quantity of unused explosives and arms. We later got over 3.5tonnes of RDX, 100 Aks and over 500 hand-grenades. Thirdly, we found the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon in the blasts. However, we could never get them. I will always regret this.

What still remains to be done?
Undoubtedly, to bring masterminds like Dawood and Memon, who are out of bounds, to book. That still remains an unfinished task.

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