State of Maharashtra Vs. Manjoor Qureshi & Ors.
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987
Sections 3(3), 3(2)(i)(ii), (4), 5 and 6 – Penal Code, 1860, Section 120B read with Sections 302, 307, 326, 324, 427, 435, 436, 201 and 212 IPC – Arms Act, 1959, Sections 3 and 7 read with Sections 25 (IA), (lB)(a) – Explosives Act, 1884, Sections 9B (1)(a)(b)(c) – Explosive Substances Act, 1908, Sections 3, 4(a)(b), 5 and 6 – Bombay Blast case – Charge of conspiracy, knowingly abetting and facilitating commission of terrorist acts and acts preparatory thereto – Allegation that respondents agreed to undergo weapons training in Pakistan for commission of terrorist acts and for said purpose visited Dubai but could not go to Pakistan as arrangement for training could not be made – But attended conspiratorial meeting at Dubai – According to confessions of A114, A109, A58, A126, A127, A128, A130, they thought they were being trained for self defence and only in Dubai they learnt that they were being sent for training to Pakistan – However said training could not finalise – Accepting this fact, designated court recording acquittal. Held, no interference needed as respondents were taken unaware and on false pretext to Pakistan.
The Designated Court after appreciating the entire evidence has drawn a conclusion that the respondents may be under the impression that they were being sent there for training of arms so that it can be used in self defence and they came to know only when they were in Dubai that they were being sent for training to Pakistan. However, the training could not be finalized/arranged and they came back to Bombay. Therefore, the learned Designated Court had drawn the inference that as they did not have knowledge that they were going to Pakistan for training in handling of arms they could not be held guilty. (Para 24)
The parameters laid down by this Court in entertaining the appeal against the order of acquittal have to be applied. (Para 25)
We are of the view that none of the respondents was aware of the intention of the conspirators to send the respondents to Pakistan for training to deal with the arms and ammunition rather they had been taken away to Dubai on false pretext and had been misguided. Thus, we fully agree with the inference drawn and conclusion reached by the Designated Court. We find no reason to interfere with the same. The appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed. (Para 26)
11. This criminal appeal has been preferred against the impugned judgment and order dated 2.8.2007 passed by a Special Judge of the Designated Court under the TADA in Bombay Blast Case No. 1/93, acquitting the respondents of all the charges. The respondents had been charged in addition to the common charge of conspiracy under Section 3(3) TADA and Section 120B IPC, read with the other provisions. They were charged with knowingly abetting and facilitating the commission of terrorist acts and acts preparatory to terrorist acts as they had agreed to undergo weapons training in Pakistan in handling of arms and ammunition and explosives for committing terrorist acts and for that purpose visited Dubai but could not go to Pakistan as arrangement for training there could not be made. They attended the conspiratorial meeting at Dubai alongwith conspirators to plan the commission of terrorist acts.
12. Mohmed Iqbal Ibrahim S/o Shaikh Ibrahim (A-127) has died. Thus, this appeal stood abated qua
13. After conclusion of the trial, the Designated Court acquitted the respondents of all the charges.
Hence, this appeal.
14. Shri Mukul Gupta, learned senior counsel for the appellant-State has submitted that the Designated Court has erred in acquitting the respondents of the charge of conspiracy. The respondents had gone to Dubai to go to Pakistan for having training to handle the arms and ammunition and explosives and this is a matter of chance that they came back as the training could not be arranged but the evidence on record clearly established that they intended to have the training and subsequently to participate in the terrorist activities. Therefore, the appeal deserves to be allowed.
15. Ms. Farhana Shah, learned counsel for the respondents has submitted that there is nothing on
record to establish that either of the respondents had any idea or knowledge or they had been informed by any other co-accused that they would be sent for training to Pakistan to handle the arms etc. and rather they had an impression that they would be taught handling the arms to be used for self-defence. Thus, no imputation of conspiracy can be established. The appeal lacks merit and is liable to be dismissed.
16. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
Confession of Shaikh Kasam @ Babulal Ismail Shaikh (A-109):
17. His confession revealed that he was working as an Office Boy in the construction company of Ijaz Khan in 1992. The said office was closed after riots in Bombay in December 1992. Some persons namely Munna, Karimullah, Shehjada used to come to the said construction company of Ijaz and thus the accused developed acquaintance with them. Ijaz used to travel between Bombay and Dubai. On 12.1.1993, Mr. Ethesham (A-58) informed him that Ijaz had come from Dubai and wanted to meet the respondent (A-109). The accused met Ijaz Khan at the house of Haji Yakub in presence of Anwar. Ijaz told them that in case something wrong happens to them they can talk to him over the telephone. Subsequently, they left leaving Munna and Anwar there. Yakub (AA) later told him that riots were increasing and he would take them out of India for training and using revolvers for saving themselves from the riots. The respondent (A-109) brought his passport from his house and delivered the same to Haji Yakub. Subsequently, the respondent (A-109) went to Dubai alongwith Murad, Ethesham, Shakil, Shahnawaz on 14.2.1993.
17.1 Yakub Haji came to meet them and said that training could not be given this time, and it would be done next time. They remained for 15 days in Dubai and their visa expired. They then came back to Bombay. Before going to Dubai, Yakub asked them to take an oath by placing their hands on the Quran that whatever they are doing, it was for the sake of Islam and they would not fight with each other and would not divulge their talks to others.
Confession of Sultan-E-Rome Sardar Ali Gul (A-114):
18. He was working as a driver with a Marwari at Walkeshwar. After the demolition of Babri Masjid he lost his job because his employer was afraid of him as he was a Muslim. The accused (A-14) wanted to go to Saudi Arabia for search of work. Therefore, he got his passport ready. In the month of January, 1993, he met Qamar Khan. Ijaz Khan and Ethesham (A-58) talked with them for 5-10 minutes. Then Ijaz told him that he had to go to Ethesham as and when he was called and he would be paid Rs.1,000/-, a pair of clothes and shoes. Ethesham would train him in working a revolver.
On 14.2.1993, he went to Dubai alongwith the others and stayed there for 14 days without any work/training and came back to India. He further disclosed that they were not given any training or any lectures (Taqreer) in Dubai.
Confession of Abdul Aziz Abdul Kader (A-126):
19. He also accompanied the other co-accused to Dubai. He corroborated the version of other co-accused for
going to Dubai and coming back to Bombay. Yeda Yakub advised him that he should learn to handle the arms as there was tension prevailing all round and the Muslims were being suppressed and beaten everywhere and therefore such training was necessary for their self defence, especially to face the Hindus. Muslims have suffered heavy losses. In case riots occurred in future then by learning the handling of weapons Muslims can effectively deal with Hindus. When he (A-126) was in Dubai he went to see a person who knew to his brother and during the conversation he enquired from the respondent (A-126) the purpose for which he had gone to Dubai. The respondent (A-126) told him that he had come for taking training of handling of arms and on their return journey they would take some goods along with them to earn some money in India. He cautioned the respondent (A-126) that the work was not good and advised him to go back.
Confession of Mohd. Iqbal Ibrahim (A-127):
20. He corroborated the version of other co-accused and had admitted going to Dubai but he was not aware of the purpose for what he had been taken to Dubai. During their stay in Dubai, people used to talk occasionally about weapons. After 10-14 days of reaching Dubai, they came back to Bombay. He had been to Dubai three times earlier. After coming back to India he came to know that he was taken to Dubai for training in handling of arms.
Confession of Murad Ibrahim Khan (A-130):
21. He corroborated the version given by other co-accused in the confessional statement that he had gone to Dubai. He further revealed that one day when they were in Dubai, Shakil told him that he would go to Pakistan for weapon training but the arrangement had not yet been finalized. After a few days they came to know that they had been taken for weapon training but arrangements could not be made and they had to return to Bombay and on expiry of their visa they came back.
Confessional statement of Shaikh Mohmed Ethesham (A-58):
22. He disclosed that he was a close associate of Yeda Yakub and was involved in all kinds of smuggling activities. He revealed about the smuggling of arms and said that on 7.2.1993 when he was at the place of Hazi Yakub @ Yeda Yakub, and the latter informed him, Akbar, Babulal and Shahnawaz that Muslims had suffered a considerable loss in the riots and that they had to go to Dubai for training of arms and ammunition to protect themselves. He, Shahnawaz, and Babulal were ready to go to Dubai. Thus, they had gone to Dubai but came back without having any training.
Confession of Shahnawaz Khan (A-128):
23. His confessional statement revealed that he had gone to Dubai alongwith other co-accused. He came to know after going to Dubai that they were going for arms training to be held in Pakistan. However, due to some reason arrangements could not be made for training. Thus, he came to Bombay alongwith other co-accused namely Iqbal, Ethesham, Babulal and Shahid on 1.3.1993 and the remaining persons reached later on.
24. The Designated Court after appreciating the entire evidence has drawn a conclusion that the respondents may be under the impression that they were being sent there for training of arms so that it can be used in self defence and they came to know only when they were in Dubai that they were being sent for training to Pakistan. However, the training could not be finalized/arranged and they came back to Bombay. Therefore, the learned Designated Court had drawn the inference that as they did not have knowledge that they were going to Pakistan for training in handling of arms they could not be held guilty.
25. The parameters laid down by this Court in entertaining the appeal against the order of acquittal have to be applied.
26. We have gone through the entire record and we are of the view that none of the respondents was aware of the intention of the conspirators to send the respondents to Pakistan for training to deal with the arms and ammunition rather they had been taken away to Dubai on false pretext and had been misguided. Thus, we fully agree with the inference drawn and conclusion reached by the Designated Court. We find no reason to interfere with the same. The appeal lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.