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Top 10 highlights of Abu Salem sentencing for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: Abu Salem gets life sentence, Feroz Khan and Tahir Merchant gets death penalty

The duration of punishment for the alleged gangsters of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts - Abu Salem, Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Karimullah Khan, and Riyaz Siddiqui was announced today

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Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing
Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing. IANS

New Delhi, September 7, 2017: It has been 24 years since the atrocious 1993 Mumbai serial blasts happened. Finally, a special Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (TADA) Court court in Mumbai announced today the duration of sentence against the gangster Abu Salem and four other convicts- Taher Merchant, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimullah Khan. Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were given life imprisonment by the court whereas Feroz Khan and Tahir Merchant were given a death sentence. Riyaz Siddiqui is given 10 years of imprisonment.

Also Read: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

The mastermind behind the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case was Mustafa Dossa, the blasts took lives of 257 people and injured 713 others. On 16th June 2017, Mustafa Dossa was convicted by the Court. But, the case against Mustafa Dossa was later closed as on June 28 he died due to a fatal cardiac arrest while the sentencing arguments were in the process in court. The CBI did claim that Mustafa Dossa’s role in the Mumbai serial blasts was “more severe” than Yakub Memon (he was hanged in July 2015 in the same case). The other claim made by CBI was that the “main conspirators” were Mustafa Dossa, Taher Merchant, and Feroz Khan.

Top 10 Highlights of Abu Salem’s sentencing:

  • The court said that Abu Salem’s ‘close proximity’ to chief conspirators of the case Anees Ibrahim (Dawood Ibrahim’s brother) and Mustafa Dossa, made him transport and conceal arms and ammunition at various places.
  • The court said, “Feroz Khan is not Hamza Khan as claimed by him. He is the same Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, who was declared a proclaimed offender in this case in 1993.” The court noted that Feroz was in fact ‘a prominent member’ of the Dossa gang and was also ‘actively involved’ in smuggling of arms and ammunition to India.
  • According to ANI reports, Ujjwal Nikam, Public Prosecutor said: “Convicts will get set-off for the time they have served in jail.”
  • Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were sentenced to life imprisonment due to 2 separate counts each. The court ordered Salem and Karimullah to pay Rs 2 lakh fine.
  • Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan and Tahir Merchant were given the death sentence. As per CBI, “Feroz and Tahir were the main conspirators.”
  • Riyaz Siddiqui was given 10 years of imprisonment. He had been found not guilty of conspiracy but was convicted under section 3 (3) of the TADA(P) Act as he provided a vehicle to Abu Salem for transporting the vehicles.
  • Abu Salem was sentenced to life imprisonment by TADA court on charges of conspiracy and murder which were proven against him. After him, Karimullah Khan was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • The death penalty could not be awarded to Abu Salem as he was extradited from Portugal in 2005 and India had signed an extradition agreement with Portugal.
  • “The TADA court had earlier convicted all of them except Riyaz Siddiqui under charges including murder, criminal conspiracy and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – TADA Act, Explosive Substances Act, Explosives Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asked for a death sentence for Feroz, Merchant, and Karimullah, and for Salem and Siddiqui- life imprisonment.

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CBI Unravels Wrongdoing in Atomic Minerals Mining Licensing

The Delhi High Court that it had taken a policy decision not to auction or re-grant the offshore blocks

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CBI, Atomic Minerals, Mining
The government was unaware that these minerals had strategic and defence value. Pixabay

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has uncovered large-scale irregularities in the ownership pattern, financial resources and technical ability of five companies granted mining licences for offshore blocks bearing rare and atomic minerals.

The companies, while applying for mining licence in June 2010, had a common director, the Central government has told the Supreme Court.

The Centre has argued that the five companies were registered after the government called private parties for mining licences in June 2010, says a CBI document.

At that time, the government was unaware that these minerals had strategic and defence value.

CBI, Atomic Minerals, Mining
The companies, while applying for mining licence in June 2010, had a common director. Pixabay

The administering authority of these licences did not obtain mandatory clearances from various ministries, especially the Home Ministry, according to the CBI.

The Delhi High Court, in an order dated April 25, directed the Centre to execute the exploration licence of the companies as per the procedure within four weeks from the date of receipt of the order.

The verdict came even after the Centre, in an affidavit dated April 16, told the Delhi High Court that it had taken a policy decision not to auction or re-grant the offshore blocks, bearing atomic minerals, to private parties.

Moving the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling, the Centre accused the companies of not submitting the proper supporting documents on the basis of which the marking was done in the evaluation sheet.

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The companies were charged with not providing any document indicating the sanctioned line of credit from any financial institution or bank.

One of the companies approached a leading financial services company seeking finance to carry out mining.

“This document was accepted as a document in support of the financial capability of the applicant company. Accordingly, a MoU was signed on September 23, 2010, which was received by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) in October 2010, after the date of submission of application for grant of licences on September 14, 2010,” said an internal CBI document.

Therefore, the Centre believed that the company had not confirmed the sanctioned credit limit as per the revised guidelines.

CBI, Atomic Minerals, Mining
The Centre has argued that the five companies were registered after the government called private parties for mining licences in June 2010. Pixabay

“The above MoU was valid only till March 31, 2011. Thus, on the date of issue of grant order by IBM on April 5, 2011, the MoU was null and void,” said the document.

According to information from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the authorised share capital of this company and its sister concerns was Rs 25 lakh each whereas the paid up share capital of each of the companies was Rs 1 lakh.

The net worth was negative for each company during fiscal 2016-17. The companies, even as of now, are not financially capable of undertaking any activities or business operations, said the document.

The companies stated that they were sister companies of 12 other companies engaged in different business sectors.

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“The worth of the companies and their directors are more than Rs 300 crore. If the exploration licence is granted to the applicant companies, expenses up to Rs 50 crore can be spent easily and can be further increased up to Rs 100 crore, if required,” says a petition in the Supreme Court.

“However, this is not acceptable since the company has been incorporated as Limited Liability Company and therefore the financial commitments by the sister companies had no relevance in the absence of resolution passed by the Board of Directors of the sister companies,” it added.

Despite the inadequate documents in support of their financial strength, the companies got 25 marks by the screening committee which shortlisted applications for mining licence.

“These private companies failed to produce satisfactory documentation for the requisite technical ability and financial resources to undertake exploration operation”, said an officer familiar with the investigation.

The CBI has charge-sheeted the government officials who in November 2017 signed in haste two licence deeds with one of the companies without following the due process.

The CBI, which has started preliminary enquiry after a gap of six years following a go-ahead from the apex court, favours a full-fledged investigation against everyone linked to the grant of licences. (IANS)