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Mumbai, Sep 28: A TADA court on Thursday convicted Sarfaraz Phanse, an aide of prime accused Tiger Memon, for facilitating the landing of explosives used in the 1993 blasts here but acquitted five others as the evidence against them was "weak".

Phanse, convicted for aiding terrorist acts by helping in the landing of arms and explosives at the Shekhadi coast in Raigad district, was the 20th accused to be found guilty by the court of Judge P D Kode.

The five who were acquitted - Mansoor Qureshi, Shaikh Kasam Babulal, Sultan-e-rome Ali Gul, Abdul Aziz Kader and Mohammed Iqbal Ibrahim -- had been charged with going to Dubai en route to Pakistan for arms training. The court said the evidence against them was "weak" and fell short of conviction.

Phanse is the son of Dawood Takla, convicted last week for attending a meeting called by Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai to plot the 1993 serial explosions that killed 257 people.

Phanse, who faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, was, however, acquitted of a conspiracy charge. He remained expressionless when he heard the verdict.

The prosecution failed to prove that the five men who were acquitted had gone to Dubai for arms training. The CBI alleged they could not go to Pakistan from Dubai as the conspirators did not make travel arrangements for them.

They were also acquitted of charges of attending a conspiracy meeting in Dubai. On hearing the verdict, the five men told the judge "Shukhriya" (thank you) and shook hands with their lawyers, Farhana Shah, Subhash Kanse and Abbas Kazmi.

Kode said though the accused had travelled to Dubai in February 1993, there was no evidence to show they had gone there to take part in the conspiracy.


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