Yesterday, June 28, Mumbai blasts convict Mustafa Dossa died of cardiac arrest, a fortnight after he was pronounced guilty by a special TADA court. This morning, his body was laid to rest at the Bada Qabrastan in Mumbai amid tight security.
Just a day before he died, the CBI prosecutor had sought death penalty for Dossa during arguments to decide the quantum of punishment for all convicts. And Dossa was present in the courtroom.
After the news of his death spread, various reports emerged about the notorious smuggler's personal life. In fact, while his fellow inmates in Arthur Road Jail swear by his generosity, outside jail he had earned the nick name of Manju because of his "colourful" lifestyle.
On June 16, when the TADA court passed its order, those present in the scene say Dossa turned pale and was visibly disturbed. But after spending the weekend in jail, he seemed to have had regained his "colours".
During later court appearance (the court is still hearing arguments on sentencing the convicts), he was back to his usual self.
Image credit: PTI
Wearing his trademark kurta pajama, he shook hands with almost everyone he came across in the special TADA court. He went up to Abdul Qayyum, another accused who was acquitted by the court, and asked him if Dawood and Anees Ibrahim had called him up after the acquittal. Qayyum answered in negative.
Soon after, a woman advocate entered the courtroom and Dossa was visibly distracted. When she casually commented that he had thinned down, Dossa shot back, saying, "May be because you didn't come to visit me earlier." She told him that he already has "big lawyers at his disposal" and he immediately promised to sign a "vakalatnama" for her even as the woman blushed.
No wonder he earned the alias Majnu.
Interestingly, even though the trial was being conducted on the fourth floor of the sessions court in Mumbai, Dossa would sit a floor below, right outside the court where Indrani and Peter Mukerjea too are being tried in the Sheena Bora murder case. Once when Indrani was down with chicken pox, Dossa had asked Peter why she had covered her face. Peter told him about it and went away. Just after he left, Dossa said aloud that Peter, who had married twice, was quite a Majnu, but "not a bigger Majnu than me". "I am the biggest Majnu of this world."
It was in the court itself, surrounded by policemen, that he used to meet women who would also accompany him across his travels in trains while being taken to other states for cases registered there against him.
At least two such investigations were being carried out by the Mumbai Police and he was even ordered to attend the court through video-conferencing from jail.
During the long years of 1993 Mumbai blast trial, many say it was Dossa and Qayyum who made the otherwise mundane schedule of the court interesting by providing some comic relief.
Even after the conviction when co-convict Firoze Khan sat in the witness box and cried and pleaded with his folded hands, saying that he "did not want to die", Dossa, who was sitting in the last row in court, commented in his typical Bambaiya style: “This performance will beat even Raj Kapoor and Salman Khan any day.”
After that he raised his hand and told the court that even he wanted to say something. But the court told him that he would be given a chance another day.
That chance, however, never came.