Mustafa and Salem: Sworn enemies united by one horror

Mustafa Dossa and Abu Salem , the main men among the six convicted for their role in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, were as different as chalk and cheese. One was a diehard Dawood Ibrahim loyalist.

Published: 16th June 2017 09:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2017 09:20 PM   |  A+A-

Abu Salem (ENS)

Express News Service

Of the six men convicted on Friday for the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993, Mustafa Dossa and Abu Salem were primarily the provisions and logistics men. They landed the arms and ammunition at various points on the Konkan coast.

Mustafa Dossa is the brother of Dawood Ibrahim’s main landing agent in Mumbai, Mohammad Dossa, who is still at large. He is believed to have attended the first meeting at his brother’s house in Dubai where the conspiracy was hatched. He is also believed to have attended at least 15 other meetings to plan the attack. 

Mustafa supervised the landings of weapons and ‘Kala Sabun’ (RDX) consignments at Dighi in Raigad district on January 9, 1993. He organized their shipment to Bharuch in Gujarat, from where it was picked up and brought to Mumbai by Abu Salem.

Mustafa’s elder brother Mohammad Dossa had begun his career as a smuggler in Mumbai back in the 1970s when Haji Mastan ruled the city. He was the one who initiated Tiger Memon into the trade as a car driver. He is believed to have been in the core team of Dawood Ibrahim which planned the 1993 blasts. It included Tiger Memon, Anees Ibrahim and Jaliawala.

Mohammed Dossa is believed to be living in Dubai. He is the richest among the absconders after Dawood and Anees. He was said to be keen to surrender, but Dawood dissuaded him from doing so.

Mustafa, known as Majnu in family circles, was deported from Dubai in 2003 and was arrested by CBI upon landing in Delhi. But like Yakub Meoon, he claims to have returned to India on his own and that CBI falsely implicated him on the basis of fabricated evidence.

Abu Salem: The solo player from the east

While Mustafa Dossa was said to be a diehard loyalist of Dawood Ibrahim, Abu Salem was different. He broke away by conducting some operations in the underworld without the consent of the boss.

That is the reason why a gang war erupted in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai in 2010 when both Salem and Dossa were imprisoned there. Mustafa Dossa once attacked Salem with a sharp weapon after which Salem was shifted to the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.

Unlike Mustafa, Abu Salem was a small-timer in the Dawood gang. A native of Saria Meer in Azamgarh district of UP, Abu Salem, alias Abdul Saleem Ansari, is believed to have begun his career in Delhi as a taxi driver. He moved to Mumbai in the mid-1980s and embarked on a career of petty crime while operating a telephone booth in the northern suburb of Andheri.

He then became a gun runner for the Dawood gang and quickly graduated to extorting from big builders and Bollywood personalities on behalf of Dawood.

He was the one who took weapons to Sanjay Dutt which got the actor into trouble. After the blasts in Mumbai, he went to Lucknow and with the help of a friend reached Dubai. However, he did not receive any help there from Dawood, and it is believed that a miffed Salem fell out with the gang. 

Salem got music impresario Gulshan Kumar killed in 1997 without the knowledge of Dawood. He also started his own extortion racket in Bollywood, which added to Dawood’s wrath.

He fled Dubai with his companion and former Bollywood actress Monica Bedi and landed up in Portugal and lived in Lisbon among the expatriate Indian Goan community. But their luck ran out in 2002 when they were arrested by the Portuguese police at the behest of Interpol.

A Portuguese court sentenced Salem to four and a half years in November 2003 for possession of forged documents and resisting arrest. In 2005, he was extradited to India with his companion Monica Bedi.

It is believed that Riyaz Siddiqui and Dawood’s manager Abdul Qayyum Shaikh’s arrests were possible because of information provided by Abu Salem.

Salem and Mustafa both ruled the jails they were lodged in, hosting iftar parties for fellow prisoners.


Convicted: Karimullah Khan

He also played an active role in the landing of consignments of arms, ammunitions, detonators, grenades and RDX at Shekhandi in Raigad, Maharashtra. According to prosecution, Karimulla told another accused that he was going to Pakistan for arms training via Dubai.

Convicted: Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan

He was born in Chipun village in Maharashtra in 1970. In 1989, he met Abu Bakkar, a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang and began to work for him. On January 8, 1993, two months ahead of the Mumbai blasts, Mohammed Dossa (absconding brother of Mustafa Dossa) sent Firoz Khan to Alibagh and Mhasla to inform Customs officials and landing agents about the landing of arms and explosives that was to take place the next day. He also attended conspiracy meetings. CBI arrested Firoz Khan from Koparkhairane in Navi Mumbai in February 2010.

Convicted: Riyaz Sidiqqi

He arranged a van with specially crafted secret cavities which was used for transporting 9 AK-56 rifles, 100 grenades and some boxes of magazines from a godown at Bharuch in Gujarat to Mumbai.

Convicted: Tahir Merchant

He attended meetings in Dubai in which the plot to attack Mumbai was hatched. He facilitated the travel of men from India to Pakistan by providing fake documents and cash. In 2010, he was deported from Abhu Dhabi and was arrested by the CBI upon landing in Mumbai.

Let off: Abdul Quayyum

He was arrested by the Mumbai police in 2007. He was an aide to Anees Ibrahim, brother of Dawood. His name appeared in the confession statements of Abu Salem and Sanjay Dutt. However, the TADA court acquitted him for want of evidence.

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