The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Terror act gets cops for first time

Mumbai, Sept. 26: The country today saw the first ever conviction of policemen under anti-terror law Tada with a special court finding a sub-inspector and four constables guilty of complicity in the 1993 Bombay blasts.

The Maharashtra police personnel were convicted of accepting a Rs 7 lakh bribe from prime accused Tiger Memonís henchmen to wave a cache of smuggled arms through a highway checkpoint.

Sub-inspector Vijay Krishnaji Patil and constables Ashok Muneshwar, Pandurang Mahadik, Ramesh Mali and Srikrishna Pashilkar were convicted for aiding a terror act. Patil, who negotiated the bribe, was also held guilty of conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

Tada judge Pramod Kode acquitted three co-accused ó constables Krishna Mokal, Krishna Pingle and Manohar More ó for lack of evidence.

All eight policemen were posted at Raigad districtís Shrivardhan police station, which oversaw an area that included the coastal village of Dighi where the first arms landing took place on January 9, 1993.

The CBI had accused all eight of accepting the bribe from Memonís landing agent Uttam Potdar and customs inspector Jaywant Gurav to allow a consignment of AK-56 rifles, 9mm pistols, cartridges and RDX smooth passage through the Godghar Phata crossing near Dighi.

According to the charge- sheet, prime accused Mohammed Dossa had organised the arms landing with the help of Potdar and Mohammed Japuria alias Mechanic Chacha at Dighi, about 200 km from Mumbai.

Dossa and Mechanic Chacha allegedly visited Panvel on January 6 and met customs collector Ranjit Kumar Singh and Raigad customs superintendent Mohammed Sultan Sayed at Hotel Persian Darbar to finalise the plan.

After the landing, Gurav sat Potdar beside him in his official jeep and escorted the trucks carrying the arms. Patil and his men stopped them and, after receiving the bribe, allowed them to drive on towards Mumbai, the charge-sheet said.

The court accepted the CBIís claim that there were seven constables in the police team, but the identity of three could not be established, leading to the acquittals.

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