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No more don-Dutt encounter in court

A TADA court has separated Salem's trial from 123 others, including actor Sanjay Dutt, in '93 Mumbai blast case.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 03:56 IST

A designated TADA court on Tuesday rejected gangster Abu Salem's charge that conditions for his extradition to India for trial were violated and ordered that his trial would be separated from that of 123 other accused, including actor Sanjay Dutt, in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast case.

The order was delivered by designated Judge PD Kode who rejected Salem's petition urging for a joint trial with Dutt and the other accused.

The judge also rejected Salem's plea that extradition conditions had been violated by CBI as they had wrongly applied the charges on him in the 1993 bomb blast case.

The court said Salem had been correctly charged with participating in the conspiracy to create bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993 and transporting as well as distributing arms and ammunition to the co-accused, including Dutt, prior to the serial explosions.

The judge also held that in future if any absconding accused in the case was arrested or extradited from a foreign country his trial would be separated from that of the 123 accused.

The judge also said he would decide on July 3 the date of the judgement in the bomb blast case.

Outside the court, CBI prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the court's order separating Salem's trial from Dutt's case would not have any impact or bearing on the actor's defence.

He said CBI had sufficient evidence against Dutt and corroborative evidence against Salem. Hence Tuesday's order of the court separating Salem's trial from those of others would not affect the main case, the prosecutor said.

Salem pleaded he should be tried in the 1993 serial bomb blast case along with Dutt and 122 co-accused.

Opposing the CBI stand to separate his trial from the main case of 123 co-accused in the 1993 bomb blast case, defence lawyers Niteen Pradhan and Farhana Shah said if Salem is not tried jointly with others then prejudice may be caused to him and co-accused.

Seeking an early verdict on the bomb blast case, CBI had earlier urged the court to separate the trial of Salem from the main trial on the ground that the judgement had been delayed considerably.

The trial had commenced in 1995 and the judgement was yet to be delivered, CBI submitted in a petition seeking separation of Salem's trial from that of other accused.

Considerable delay had already taken place and the prosecution was not in favour of delaying the trial any further, CBI prosecutors Ujjwal Nikam and Natrajan argued.

Salem sought to counter the argument saying he would prefer to be tried jointly along with co-accused otherwise prejudice may be caused to him and others.

Sanjay Dutt is facing the charge of possessing AK-56 rifle and later destroying it with the help of his friends. The actor has denied the allegation and witnesses have also not supported the prosecution.

The prosecution has said some accused, including Salem, had gone to Dutt's residence and handed over an AK-56 rifle, prior to the serial blasts.

Altogether 257 people were killed and 713 injured when a series of bomb blasts shattered 13 places in the city damaging property worth Rs 27 crores on March 12, 1993.

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 18:59 IST