Mumbai: Mustafa Dossa, one of the last few terrorists still standing trial for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was caught enjoying an overnight train journey with his wife, even as the police team tasked with escorting him looked the other way.
Dossa, an aide of blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim, was being taken to Porbandar, where he is being tried for smuggling deadly explosives meant to be used in the blasts that killed 257 Mumbaikars.
In 2015, Dossa was caught auditioning models in a Mumbai court, after which his henchmen robbed one of the women.
Ironically, in July 2016, Dossa’s friend-turned-foe Abu Salem, who is also on trial for the 1993 blasts, was also caught travelling from Mumbai to Lucknow with his wife on the way to a court hearing.
Dossa’s wife, Shabina Khatri, who was caught on camera boarding the Saurashtra Express at Ahmedabad, and his lawyer Rizwan Merchant were not available for comment.
When mid-day contacted Deven Bharti, the joint commissioner for law and order, under whom the eight-man Local Arms Unit escort party comes, directed us to the Mumbai police spokesperson Ashok Dudhe, who was unavailable for comment.
The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) court that is hearing the final bunch of blasts cases on December 21, permitted Dossa to be taken to Porbandar. An eight- man police party left Arthur Road Jail with Dossa, who was in a white kurta pyjama carrying two bags.
Two policemen finished the paperwork at the booking office while Dossa waited on the platform. The team then boarded sleeper coach S-3 of the Saurashtra Express at Mumbai Central at 8.20 am on December 25. Even before the train left the city limits, Dossa was seen in the company of several associates and was spotted having lengthy conversations with them. It is believed that henchmen run what is left of his empire as he controls them from prison.
When the train reached Ahmedabad at 8.06, Khatri, who was in the news recently for savagely assaulting a security guard on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, boarded the coach and sat next to Dossa’s seat. Khatri listened as Dossa passed some instructions to his associate who was standing by the window.
Soon after the train pulled out of the Ahmedabad station, it was lights out in Dossa’s berth, even as the eight policemen moved out of their seats and stationed themselves near the washroom at the end of the coach, leaving the dreaded terrorist totally unattended.
When the train reached Porbandar in the morning, Dossa and the police team waited till the other passengers alighted. There was another brief wait for Dossa as the cops finished their paperwork and left.
While mid-day could not trace Khatri after this, her geo-tagged Facebook status – which showed her location as the Porbandar station – “Love in the AIR”, with several romantic emojis – said it all. The time stamp was 3.32 pm, suggesting that she was with him till late in the afternoon.
The police party seemed to have switched trains for the return journey, as mid-day could not spot them in the Saurashtra Express that left Porbandar at 9.05 pm on December 26.
Among the remaining cases in the 1993 blasts trial, Dossa’s is crucial, as he faces the most serious charge – landing explosives in Mumbai and sending the other convicts to Pakistan for training.
Over 3,000 kilo of RDX was brought into the country, of which a mere 10% was used. According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Dossa was extradited from Dubai in 2003. In 2015, Dossa told the TADA court he ‘returned to India on his own to join investigations and clear his name’.
The special TADA court presided by Judge GA Sanap is hearing the final arguments of Dossa, Abu Salem, and five others who were arrested after the main trial had begun. The judgment is expected in mid-2017.