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Four convicted get time to surrender

Taking cue from actor Sanjay Dutt, his two friends on Monday asked the designated TADA court to release them, reports Sunil Shivdasani.
None | By Sunil Shivdasani, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2007 02:23 AM IST

Taking cue from actor Sanjay Dutt, his two friends on Monday asked the designated TADA court to release them on bond of good conduct under section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act (POA).

Kersi Adejania (76) and Rusi Mulla (64), convicted under the Arms Act along with the actor in the 1993 blasts case, sought probation stating that they should be let off on bonds of good conduct. They promised not to misuse their liberty if they were granted this relief.

Both Kersi and Rusi urged for their release on probation on almost the same grounds cited by the actor. The duo said they had been acquitted of charges under TADA and held guilty only for small offence under the Arms Act for possessing weapons.

They said the purpose for holding weapons was not to commit terrorist acts but to help a friend. Even CBI had contended that the arms possessed by them were not used in terrorist acts, the duo pleaded.

Both said they were not habitual offenders and were not likely to misuse their liberty or commit any crime in future. The duo said they were ill and family members were dependent on them.

Asking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its reply on February 2, judge P.D. Kode exempted the duo from surrendering until February 6.

However, in the case of Mubina Baya Bhiwandiwala and Zebunisa Kazi, both convicted under TADA (P) act for their complicity in blast conspiracy, the court granted them liberty until further orders.

Both pleaded that they had children to look after. Mubina was held guilty for organising conspiracy meetings, while Zebunisa was found guilty of possession of arms given to her by a co-accused.

Meanwhile, defence lawyers, including Harshad Ponda and Farhana Shah, have concluded their arguments on quantum of sentence to be awarded to the 90 accused. The arguments on ten others, including Sanjay Dutt, have still to be advanced.

The CBI would also submit its arguments before the court pronounces the sentence for each convict.

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