Another discrepancy that one encounters while reading Dutt’s statement is that he had sought AK-56 and grenades for ‘self-defense’, as he was being threatened in wake of communal riots. But one wonders how come an actor, also the son of an influential MP, didn’t go for protection to authorities and instead trusted dreadful underworld don. And why did Dutt need more weapons when he already had several handguns in his possession.
What is perhaps the biggest irony of the whole trial is that while Dutt was sentenced under a milder Arms Act despite having ordered the weapons and having intention of using it, his friends Zaibunissa Kazi and Manzoor were tried and later implicated under draconian TADA Act. Zaibunissa is believed to have kept the two rifles returned by Dutt for couple of days at her residence, while it was Manzoor’s car which was used to transport the rifles from Dutt’s place to Zaibunissa’s house.
Not only Zaibunissa and Manzoor, but even Yusuf Nallwala, who was directed by Dutt to destroy the sole AK-56 under his possession was convicted of destruction of evidence under the Arms Act, while Dutt remained free from blame.
“Sanjay called up Nullwala from Mauritius and told him to collect the weapon and ammunition from his bedroom and destroy them. Accordingly, Nullwala collected one AK-56 rifle, two empty magazines, 250 rounds of ammunition and one 9mm pistol from the Dutt residence. He took the weapons to a friend, Karsi Bapuji Adajenia, who was in the steel fabrication business. Adajenia melted down the AK-56 with the help of a gas cutter. Nullwala threw the pieces into the sea in front of Oberoi Towers, Nariman Point. Subsequently, the police recovered AK-56 cartridges from the boulders at Marine Drive. But, apart from its spring and rod, the melted-down remains of the AK-56 could never be recovered,” says Tehelka.
Even Dutt’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde admitted on Tehelka’s spycam during time of sentence that he expected the court to sentence Dutt under TADA Act, especially after Zaibunnisa Kazi was implicated under Section 3(3) of same act.
In 2005, Abu Salem was extradited back to India after evading law for over a decade. Salem, reportedly, told the invesytigating agencies about Dutt’s ‘warm relations’ with both Dawood and Anees at time of the blasts. But what appears to be mockery of justice, his trial was not linked to that of Dutt. Despite Salem being a crucial piece in the whole jigsaw of Dutt and Mumbai Blasts conspiracy, his testimony against the actor was disregarded.
As Sanjay Dutt has been given four weeks to surrender, the larger question still remains. Did he know that bombings were to take place in Mumbai in 1993?
A total of 257 persons were killed and 713 others injured in the serial blasts which rocked the western metropolis on March 12, 1993.