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The importance of being Sanjay Dutt
Terror tag on 2 friends, 1 spared

Mumbai, Nov. 29: A day after Sanjay Dutt was cleared of terror charges, the special Tada court convicted two of his friends and co-accused on charges of delivering weapons to the actor. A third was acquitted under Tada.

Judge Pramod Kode convicted film producer Samir Hingora and businessman Baba Musa Chauhan under Section 3 (3) of Tada for delivering three AK-56 rifles, a 9-mm pistol, ammunition and hand-grenades to Dutt’s Bandra home in January 1993.

Russi Mulla, the star’s close friend, was acquitted of terror and conspiracy charges, but convicted under Sections 3 and 7 of the Arms Act — under which Dutt too was held guilty on Tuesday. Mulla, like Dutt, faces five to 10 years in jail.

According to the CBI, Hingora had accompanied Abu Salem and Baba Musa Chauhan to Dutt’s Pali Hill bungalow on Anees Ibrahim’s instructions to deliver the weapons.

The prosecution also claimed that Hingora, who owned Magnum Video, attended a blast conspiracy meeting.

Kode convicted Hingora — who was with Dutt yesterday when the verdict on the actor was handed down — under charges of conspiracy and Section 3 (3) of Tada for aiding and abetting a terrorist act. Chauhan was held guilty under Section 5 (possession of weapons) and Section 6 of Tada and Sections 3 and 7 of the arms act. He faces enhanced punishment because he was also found to have violated the explosive substances act and explosives act.

Both face a punishment ranging from five years to life imprisonment; Hingora could also be given capital punishment.

According to the CBI, Dutt had called Yusuf Nullwala from Mauritius in April 1993, asking him to destroy the AK-56 rifle and 9-mm pistol lying in his house. Nullwala, who sought Kersi Adajania’s help, tried to melt the rifle in the latter’s foundry with a gas-cutter. Adajania travelled to Calcutta the next day but left the pistol with Mulla, who, in turn, passed it on to Ajay Marwah.

Kode has now completed his verdicts on Dutt and the seven others involved in delivering weapons to the star. The ninth accused in this case is Salem, being tried separately.

Though they were involved in the same set of incidents revolving around Dutt, the accused have received different verdicts from the court over the past three days. The number of convictions in the blast trial is 94 now and acquittals 23. Six are yet to receive the verdict.

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