AK-56 gun, missing since 25 years, recovered from Dawood aides

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Thane/Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) In a major breakthrough, an AK-56 assault rifle, among three reported missing since the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was recovered from two arrested aides of absconding don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, police said here on Saturday.

The rifle was seized after a raid by the Anti-Extortion Cell, on the suburban Goregaon residence of Yasmin Naeem Khan, 35, on Friday, said an officer.

The AEC team also recovered two 9mm pistol and 13 live cartridges, the gun’s three magazines and 95 live cartridges and other materials during the raid.

This AK-56 rifle is among three such deadly rifles which were reported missing after the Mumbai 1993 serial blasts and was lying at the Khan residence since long, police said.

The breakthrough came after the arrests and interrogation of two small-time drug-peddlers on Thursday by the Thane AEC.

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They are Zahid Jali Kashmiri, 47 and Sanjay Bipin Shroff, 46, who were nabbed in Nagpada, south Mumbai, and tipped off the sleuths.

Naeem Khan had been arrested on April 20, 2016 by Mumbai Police under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), and is currently lodged in Thane prison.

His wife Yasmin, nabbed on Saturday from Bhagat Singh Nagar in Goregaon, has been sent to police custody till Monday.

The AEC headed by Pradeep Sharma, plans to question her on why the banned weapons and other ammunition were kept at their house, since how long, who had brought them, and to know the whereabouts or fate of the other two missing AK-56s, said the official.

During his arrest in 2016, Naeem Khan had shifted the AK-56 rifle to a safe location with Kashmiri and police only recovered 5 pistols from his home then.

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However, barely a few months ago, Kashmiri had returned the rifle to Khan’s wife Yasmin for safekeeping which has now been recovered by the Thane AEC.

Interestingly, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt had procured one AK-56 rifle for self-defence during the aftermath of the bloody Mumbai communal carnage of December 1992-January 1993.

The rifle was among three brought by his friends and later co-accused in the March 12, 1993 serial blasts case – Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala.

After their arrests, Dutt had asked his friend Yusuf Nulwalla to destroy the AK-56 rifle in his possession, but later the actor was arrested in the case, tried and convicted for a five-year jail term which he completed in February 2016.

–IANS

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