Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt today told Supreme Court that he had attended a dinner hosted by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai before the 1993 blasts in Mumbai but denied any relationship with him. “I have only attended a dinner at Dawood’s house along with two film producers which was before the blast. Other than that I do not have any relationship,” senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the star, told a bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan hearing the appeal against his conviction and 6 years imprisonment. Salve made the submission in response to queries from the bench as to whether Dutt had attended a party hosted by Dawood as stated in his alleged confessional statement.
To queries from the bench, the counsel asserted that Dutt had no relationship either with Dawood or the other alleged main conspirator Tiger Memon. “I have no relationship with Tiger Memon. I have no friendship with Dawood Ibrahim,” he said. The bench asked him, “Do you mean to say your relationship with Dawood Ibrahim is only in relationship to the shooting of the movie,” to which the counsel answered in the affirmative. The apex court had on November 1, 2011 commenced final hearing on a bunch of appeals filed by convicts as well as CBI in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case in which 12 persons were awarded death penalty and 78 others sentenced to varying terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment. CBI, however, has chosen not to appeal against Dutt who was acquitted of the charge of conspiracy in the blasts under the dreaded TADA, but was awarded six years imprisonment by a designated court for being in illegal possession of arms under the Arms Act.
The apex court also asked Dutt as to why he had retracted his alleged confession after one-and-half years . “The retraction comes after one-and-half years. You could have done it immediately, ” the bench told the counsel who said he would respond to it during the course of arguments. The bench also pointed out that though the CBI had filed appeals against the acquittal of a number of accused and had sought enhanced punishment of certain other convicts, it had chosen not to file any appeal against Dutt. To this, Salve said he had nothing to say as it was CBI’s decision. The bench is hearing, in all, 110 petitions which includes petition filed Dutt who was sentenced to six-year jail term in the case but is out on bail pending his appeal in the apex court.
For the first time in the Supreme Court, judges used desktops during the proceedings to browse through the over 4,000 pages judgement of the designated TADA court which had awarded death sentence to 12 people out of which one person died during the pendency of case.
The designated court had passed the judgements between July and October 2007 on the trial relating to the serial blasts which had rocked Mumbai on March 12-13, 1993 killing over 200 persons and injuring 713. During the pendency of the appeal in the apex court, one of the convicts Mohd Iqbal, facing death sentence, died and hence his appeal stands abated (ended). Three other convicts also died during the pendency of the appeal.
While the 10 convicts facing death sentence have challenged their conviction, CBI has filed cross appeals against over 40 convicts, seeking enhancement of their punishment. The appeals were admitted by the apex court in January 28, 2008, though the hearing commenced only November last year.
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