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Salem retracts confessional statement in 1993 blasts case

Source: PTI
March 07, 2006 21:29 IST
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Extradited gangster Abu Salem Tuesday retracted his confessional statement made in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts.

Moving the designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court hearing the blasts case Tuesday, Salem's lawyer Ashok Sarogi said the statement was recorded under "pressure" and hence his client wished to retract from it, sources said.

Salem had recorded a confessional statement before Central Bureau of Investigation Deputy Inspector General O P Chatwal in November 2005, admitting his role in the serial bomb blasts.

The statement was opened before the designated TADA court last week after CBI filed a chargesheet against Salem in the serial blasts case.

Salem, in his confessional statement had pointed out how he had allegedly transported arms and ammunition from Bhiwandi in Thane district to the residence of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, in presence of other bomb blasts accused, namely Magnum Video owners Sameer Hingora and Hanif Kadawala.

Meanwhile, CBI special public prosector Ujjwal Nikam Tuesday said that retraction would not affect the case against Salem.

"The statement sheds light on actor Sanjay Dutt's alleged role in the serial bomb blasts. After Salem recorded his statement before the CBI DIG, he was taken to the chief metropolitan magistrate, where he confirmed the confessional statement," Nikam said.

According to Nikam, after the statement was recorded, Salem was produced at least a dozen times before the designated TADA court, but at no time did he complain that he was forced to make a statement, or that the CBI had ill treated him.

Nikam told PTI Tuesday that Salem's decision to retract was an "afterthought", and "one can easily see who is the brain behind the move and whose conspiracy it is".

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