GOT LUCKY: Only Ajay Marwah was acquitted of all chargesMumbai: Relatives of many of those convicted along with Sanjay Dutt have started asking the same questions that the more educated, especially those versed well in law, have raised.
Many of them say, especially after Sanjay Dutt’s conviction only on Arms Act charges, that their kin — instead of being part of any conspiracy — have been victims of that conspiracy and acted only as “carriers’’ and not as “conspirators’’.
Among those linked with Dutt’s crime and convicted on Tada charges are 64-year-old widow Zaibunnisa, 43-year-old motor training school owner Baba Chauhan, 42-year-old Manzoor Ahmed and 55-year-old former film producer Sameer Hingora.
Bandra resident Zaibunnisa’s husband was a pilot who passed away many years ago. Mother of three children — the eldest daughter is married to a businessman in Sri Lanka — Zaibunnisa has been a housewife. She was arrested as Manzoor and gangster Abu Salem allegedly kept guns and grenades at her place for a night; they were later taken away.
A relative of Zaibunnisa, roaming about near the Arthur Road prison where the Tada court was located, said: “She is getting on in years and there is no income except her husband’s pension,’’ the relative added.
Manzoor Ahmed’s story is not very much more cheerful. His teenaged son now runs an STD/ISD booth to support the family. He was accused of delivering the weapons to Dutt’s home.
A relative questioned the basis of letting a person, found guilty of keeping unlicensed AK-56s at his home, off Tada charges and booking people who had delivered the weapons. “We are not very educated and do not understand the nitty-gritty of law. But this does not sound to be very fair,’’ he added. But there were others who claimed to know a little more about the law. “Mumbai was declared a notified area at that time and keeping and hiding an illegal weapon should, therefore, have been punishable under Tada,’’ a relative of a co-accused said.
Iqbal Chauhan, nephew of Baba Chauhan (convicted on Tada charges on Wednesday), remembers the fiveand-a-half-year “horrible experience’’ of having to get food from Andheri for Chauhan twice a day. “My uncle is the oldest member in a family of 20. We all consult with him whenever we have to take any decision. We did not fix the wedding date of his daughter since we thought he would be released,’’ Iqbal said, adding: “My uncle was used.’’
The Times of India, November 30, 2006