Abdul Kayuum Shaikh (centre) with his brother and granddaughter at his residenceAbdul Kayuum Shaikh (centre) with his brother and granddaughter at his residence

Abdul Kayuum Shaikh, who was acquitted by the sessions court in the 1993 serial blast case on Friday, is finally a free man. After serving time for 10 years and eight months, Shaikh was released from Arthur Road Jail yesterday evening around 5.55 pm.

After his release, Shaikh immediately made a dash for his Mahim home in his brother's car. He only addressed the media after he had reached home and hugged his granddaughter. His wife, mother and children live in Dubai, and Shaikh has been in touch with them through phone calls.

Also Read: 1993 Mumbai serial blasts: All you need to know about the 7 accused

A long fight
Shaikh first moved to Dubai in 1990, and was running an import and export business there. "When my name cropped up in the case, I went to the Indian embassy in Dubai to make enquiries. From there, I was asked to go to Mumbai. When I reached the Mumbai airport, the police immediately arrested me. It's been 10 years and eight months since I was in jail. But, today, after my release, my faith in the judiciary has been reinstated," said Shaikh.

Kayuum said that he had met the other co-accused in the case for the first time in jail, but always kept a safe distance. "I had heard of Anees Ibrahim (Dawood Ibrahim's brother and co-accused), but I didn't know him or any other accused in this case personally. We have family and work connections with Sanjay Dutt as my father owned a film production company," he said.

When asked how he got dragged into the case, Shaikh said, "My name cropped up because Abu Salem, in his confession, had said that one Kayuum was involved in the blast. But, I was a victim of mistaken identity. There must be so many Kayuums in the city."

Apart from being forced to live a tainted life behind bars for no fault of his, Shaikh says he also suffered huge financial losses in his business. But, he will not file for compensation because he said it would be foolish to expect anything from the government.

Future plans
"Firstly, I am going to sleep in peace for five days and later, I will think about how to start my life again," said Shaikh.

As of now, he has no plans to move to Dubai. "I am going to get my family back to Mumbai. I never asked them to come and meet me here because I feared that the police would put them behind bars too." When asked if he fears that the police will come back some day and harass him, Shaikh said, "I will tackle that situation like I have been doing it all this while."

128 No. of months Shaikh was in jail