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Singing don leaves Cong red-faced

Singing don leaves Cong red-faced

Author: Times News Network
Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 3, 2006

The confession made by don Abu Salem, prime accused in the Mumbai serial blasts case, has caused enormous embarrassment to the city Congress. This is because Salem had implicated actor Sanjay Dutt, who is the brother of Congress MP from Mumbai north-west Priya Dutt and had even campaigned for her during the 2004 polls.

Priya Dutt has all along stood by Sanjay, maintaining that he was innocent. But the detailed confession made by Salem has clearly put the Congress in an awkward position. The confession has tremendous evidentiary value for the prosecution, since it was recorded under TADA by a police officer of the rank of DIG (O P Chatwal).

State BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde said Priya Dutt should immediately quit her seat in the Lok Sabha. "She had publicly defended her brother. But Salem's confession makes Sanjay's role unambiguously clear. The serial blasts were the worst urban terrorist attack in Asia and we fail to understand how anyone, least of all an MP, can defend one of the main accused in the case," Tawde stated.

Dutt was unavailable for comment.

Sources in the Congress said Salem's confession is certain to be exploited by the Opposition. "Before Dutt and the Opposition is able 2004 polls to cause further damage to our party, Priya Dutt should distance herself from her brother and not support him in anyway whatsoever," a Congress MLA from the Mumbai north-west parliamentary constituency observed.

Salem had stated how he had delivered several AK-56 rifles and grenades to Sanjay Dutt at his house in Bandra, where he lived with his late father Sunil Dutt. Sanjay was arrested by the Mumbai police following a tip-off about the actor's involvement.

Sunil Dutt, who was elected several times to the LS from Mumbai north-west, had blamed then chief minister Sharad Pawar for his son's arrest. He alleged that Pawar was getting even with him for not supporting his candidature for prime minister ship. "However, Salem's confession has proved that Sanjay's arrest during Pawar's tenure as CM was justified," an NCP office bearer noted.

The BJP is planning a campaign to force Priya Dutt to quit her seat.

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