The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No word for Dutt on blast case

Mumbai, May 18: Sentencing began today in the 14-year-old Mumbai blasts case with three-year terms for five arms couriers but no word yet on star convict Sanjay Dutt.

Like the Bollywood actor, Yashwant Bhoinkar, Rashid Alware, Sharif Khan Adhikari and Abbas and Shahjahan Shaikhdare had been freed of charges under anti-terror law Tada. They were convicted under the Customs Act for ferrying a cache of arms off-loaded on the Raigad coast in January-February 1993, but the court accepted they didn’t know what they were carrying and were not conspirators.

As the long-winded case entered its last act, many victims said they had lost interest.

“The blast took away my eyesight. I was just 25, and my life changed for ever. I couldn’t care less if all the accused are set free,”said Naresh Gidwani.

Alware and Adhikari have already spent three years and three months behind bars, which means they don’t have to stay in jail any more.

The judge asked the five men to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 each, failing which their terms could be extended by six months. All the 100 convicts were in court except an ailing Sanjay, whose fate could be known in another two weeks or so.

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