Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kin can’t fathom Tada for 60-plus widow

GOT LUCKY: Only Ajay Marwah was acquitted of all charges

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Relatives of many of those convicted along with Sanjay Dutt have started asking the same questions that the more educated, especially those versed well in law, have raised.

Many of them say, especially after Sanjay Dutt’s conviction only on Arms Act charges, that their kin — instead of being part of any conspiracy — have been victims of that conspiracy and acted only as “carriers’’ and not as “conspirators’’.

Among those linked with Dutt’s crime and convicted on Tada charges are 64-year-old widow Zaibunnisa, 43-year-old motor training school owner Baba Chauhan, 42-year-old Manzoor Ahmed and 55-year-old former film producer Sameer Hingora.

Bandra resident Zaibunnisa’s husband was a pilot who passed away many years ago. Mother of three children — the eldest daughter is married to a businessman in Sri Lanka — Zaibunnisa has been a housewife.
She was arrested as Manzoor and gangster Abu Salem allegedly kept guns and grenades at her place for a night; they were later taken away.

A relative of Zaibunnisa, roaming about near the Arthur Road prison where the Tada court was located, said: “She is getting on in years and there is no income except her
husband’s pension,’’ the relative added.

Manzoor Ahmed’s story is not very much more cheerful. His teenaged son now runs an STD/ISD booth to support the family. He was accused of delivering the weapons to Dutt’s home.

A relative questioned the basis of
letting a person, found guilty of keeping unlicensed AK-56s at his home, off Tada charges and booking people who had delivered the weapons. “We are not very educated and do not understand the nitty-gritty of law. But this does not sound to be very fair,’’ he added. But there were others who claimed to know a little more about the law. “Mumbai was declared a notified area at that time and keeping and hiding an illegal weapon should, therefore, have been punishable under Tada,’’ a relative of a co-accused said.

Iqbal Chauhan, nephew of Baba Chauhan (convicted on Tada charges on Wednesday), remembers the fiveand-a-half-year “horrible experience’’ of having to get food from Andheri for Chauhan twice a day. “My uncle is the oldest member in a family of 20. We all consult with him whenever we have to take any decision. We did not fix the wedding date of his daughter since we thought he would be released,’’ Iqbal said, adding: “My uncle was used.’’


The Times of India, November 30, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rift in gang behind deportation



JEALOUS BROTHERS

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The deportation of 10 people allegedly associated with gangster Chhota Shakeel is the result of a rift between him and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s brothers. These men along with over two dozen Indians were rounded up after the murder of a Syrian national who used to work for a diamond merchant in UAE, police sources said.

The murder took place in the first week of October in the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. The deceased, Rami Andraws Sama’an (32), along with his diamond merchant friend, Elias Al Nadaf (30), had gone to meet a group of people—who claimed to be diamond merchants—at the hotel. The group of five diamond merchants, strangled
Sama’an to death. Nadaf, who pretended to be dead was lying in a corner in the room. The suspects; one from Kazakhastan, one from Azerbaijan and three others from Russia, fled after killing Sama’an. The detention of Shakeel’s associates started after this killing.

An accomplice of Dawood Ibrahim’s brothers allegedly informed the UAE police that the murder was done on the instruction of some criminals from India. The caller provided ‘clues’ about the killers. The UAE police rounded up three dozen Indians, 10 of whom were later deported to India.

An officer from the Mumbai police said those deported were close to Shakeel’s brother, Anwar Shaikh. A red corner notice was issued against Anwar who fled the country in the ’90s. Sources said Anwar has formed his own gang. “Dawood’s brother Anees didn’t like this and informed his other brothers. Though this gang did not commit crimes in India, Dawood’s brothers took it as a threat,” said a source.


The sources said the UAE police had also detained Anwar but he was released due to Shakeel’s efforts. “Dawood’s brothers wanted to make Shakeel realise that his support to the newly-formed gang could end up in the arrest of his brother. While Anees and his brothers don’t like Shakeel, Dawood has handed over the reins of his ‘business’ in India to Shakeel. It has resulted in infighting,’’ said a source.

There were reports that Shakeel had bought a bungalow with the help of Sama’an in Dubai and Anees—who was also eyeing this property— did not like. A source said while Dawood’s brothers don’t like Shakeel, the don trusts Shakeel more than anyone else in the gang since Shakeel has been his accomplice for long.


The Times of India, November 25, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Parking row takes ugly turn



NSIDE LANE

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: An argument over parking at Kumbharwada, near Opera House, snowballed into a morcha on Saturday evening, causing a traffic jam, which then had to be eased by the police with a lathi-charge.

The residents of a congested lane in Kumbharwada at V P Road got into an argument with traders over unloading of metal stocks and parking of vehicles. The argument soon turned into a scuffle and subsequently resulted in a morcha by the traders to the V P Road police station.

Neither the residents nor the traders filed a complaint. However, the police registered an FIR against the traders for “manhandling policemen’’.

The congested lane has steel and metal shops on the ground floor of almost all res
idential buildings. Mahendra Angra, who is a member of the Metal Traders Committee, alleged that Mithalal Gandhi, owner of Ramesh Dudhchand Jain, a metal shop, was manhandled by the residents during the argument. “Later they started beating up the trader, and when our association’s president Babulal Monad reached there, he was also shoved around. All the traders shut down their shops and gathered near the police station to lodge a complaint,’’ Angra said. He added that over 2,000 traders had gathered outside the police station, causing a traffic jam. “We wanted to lodge a complaint but the cops at the police station called in additional force. Since there was a huge crowd, a trader, by accident, fell on a police officer. The officer thought we were trying to push him. Suddenly, the policemen started a lathi-charge and a few traders were injured,’’ Angra said.

Deputy commissioner of police Pratap Dighavkar, additional commissioner of police (south region) D Kanakratnam and local MLA Bhai Jagtap also reached the police station.

Naresh Shirdhankar, secretary of Kumbharwada Nagrik Sangharsh Samiti, said the argument started when a
tempo was unloading heavy metals, which are supposed to be unloaded with the help of cranes only. “Because of the vibration caused by the unloading, vessels in many houses fell down, and women in those households thought it was due to an earthquake. When they and other residents came down and protested, the driver fled, and in the melee that followed the traders even pushed us. If there was a problem in one lane, why was there any need for traders from Khetwadi, CP Tank and other areas to come to that lane?” Shirdhankar said. A resident said, “This police station was recently given an ISO certificate, but the policemen here don’t know how to behave with citizens.’’

Meanwhile, a committee of traders, residents, and policemen has been formed to prevent such scuffles.


The Times of India, November 19, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

BIZARRE CRIMES




Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: By their very definition, bizarre criminal cases are rare to come by, but whenever one comes to light, it shocks society as a whole. The latest was that of a son raping his mother on Tuesday. But there have been others in the past as well. Instances of bodies being stored in refrigerators for years are often considered a prerogative of the West, but ex-IPS officer and lawyer Y P Singh says that is a mistake: “Thankfully there are no serial killers in India but we have our fair share of strange and brutal crimes’’.

In the early stages, a freak case can often stump investigators since there is no apparent reason for it. “While detecting crime, the police work on the premise of a motive and work backwards but the leitmotif of a bizarre case is that it looks completely random and inexplicable to begin with,’’ says Singh.


In 2003, the Bandra-Kurla complex police received a complaint of incest against a 39-year-old man Shahid Khan. A slum dweller, he had divorced his wife and was staying near the police station. Investigators found out that though he had separated from his wife, he had not allowed her to take their three daughters aged 16, 17 and 19 years away.

The girls used to meet their mother once in two months at their maternal uncle’s house. It was the youngest daughter who complained to her mother about being raped by her father. When the mother inquired from the two elder daughters, they confirmed they too had undergone the same ordeal. A complaint was filed and Khan was arrested.

The Nagpada police on July 2 this year recovered the mutilated body of a teenage girl stuffed into gunny bags. The body had been chopped into 18 pieces. The victim’s nose, ears, and lips were chopped and she was beheaded. The legs and arms were in separate gunny bags.

The case was solved after the police found that the gunny bags in which the body was hidden bore the label of a grain shop in Navi Mumbai. During the inquiry it came to light that the bag was supplied to a
grocery shop owner in a slum at Cuffe Parade. The police detained the shop owner and found that one of his five daughters was missing for the last few days. During interrogation, the parents of the missing girl admitted to having killed her with the help of her younger sister.

The victim’s father, Munna Khan, who ran a grocery shop, said his daughter was in love with a Dalit boy and despite his warnings she had eloped with him. The enraged Khan had killed her with the help of his wife and younger daughter. The trio are now behind bars.

It was the quintessential Summer Of 42 situation — a young boy being seduced by an older woman. But the aftermath of this episode was played out in a sessions court which sentenced the woman to five years in prison for kidnapping and having illicit intercourse with a minor.

The 45-year-old woman first encountered the boy in May 2000. All of 16 at the time, he had called up a phone sex service and got Rachna, as she called herself, at the other end. Their subsequent phone encounters led to his falling in love with her. The two met and decided to live together. The boy’s parents finally traced him to a house in Thakurli.


FAMILY SECRETS
Borivli resident Sudhakar Bhole (68)’s was found buried behind a brick and mortar cavity in his own bedroom. He was murdered by his family.


LOVE KILLS
Navi Mumbai resident Abhishek Singh was strangled to death and his body stuffed in a refrigerator. Police traced his fiancee’s phone records. The accused turned out to be an MBA aspirant, who had a relationship with Deepika and opposed her wedding to Singh.

The Times of India, November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MALEGAON BLASTS - Police probe if 7/11 accused had any role

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is questioning two accused in the Malegaon blasts case to ascertain if they received any support from Faisal Shaikh, a key figure in the Mumbai serial blasts case.

The duo, Mohammed Ali and Asif Bashir Khan, alias Junaid, were first booked for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai blasts and later for the Malegaon blasts. Faisal, a resident of Mira Road who is alleged to be Western India commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had his schooling in Malegaon. He has been arrested for the July 11 blasts.

The crime branch claimed that the 29-year-old had been in Malegaon for six to seven years during his education at Jamiat-ul-Huda. The ATS is now trying to find out if Faisal had met
any of those arrested in connection with the Malegaon blasts and if he had any hand in the conspiracy. On September 8, four bombs went off in Malegaon. The ATS has arrested seven persons in the case, including two Unani doctors, Salman Farsi and Farogh Makhdomi.

The ATS said Ali and Junaid were involved in the hatching of the conspiracy in February. They were arrested in connection with the 7/11 blasts.

The police said that Ali and Farsi were neighbours in Govandi; Ali had even stood surety for Farsi when the latter was arrested by the Govandi police in 2003. Faisal had come to Govandi to meet Ali on several occasions, and the police suspect
that Ali might have introduced Farsi to him.

Ali and Junaid are alleged to have transported RDX used in Malegaon. Sources said the police were probing if Faisal also took part in the Malegaon blasts conspiracy or if he provided support to those arrested in the case.

In the 7/11 case, it is alleged that the bombs planted in suburban trains were assembled in Ali’s Govandi house. Faisal was said to be present when the bombs were being made. Later, the bombs were transported from Govandi to Faisal’s Bandra flat, the police said. The police are also exploring if the RDX smuggled to Malegaon came with the huge consignment used in the train bombings. The police said Faisal had even received hawala money to execute the train bombings.

The Times of India, November 11, 2006

Arms haul accused offered poll ticket

Ex-MLA Wants Jailed Doc To Contest In Malegaon

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Unani doctor Shareef, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case, will be fielded in the forthcoming corporation elections in Malegaon on a Janata Dal (secular) ticket, said former MLA from Malegaon, Nihal Ahmed, who has also served as a minister.

The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested Shareef on May 12 along with four others from Malegaon and booked them under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). He is currently in jail.

Speaking to TOI, Nihal Ahmed said he had offered a ticket to Shareef and had spoken to his family about it. “I have spoken to them and they are thinking about it. These persons (accused) who are considered as harmful to society by the government can be used to uplift society,’’ he said and added that an accused could contest an election.

Shareef was arrested along
with Riyaz Ramzan, alias Raju (36), Javed Ahmed (27), Mushtaque Ahmed (30) and Afzal Khan (29) after the ATS seized a huge consignment of arms and ammunition in Aurangabad and, later, in raids in Malegaon, seized 13 kg of RDX, five AK-47 assault rifles, 40 magazines, 1,000 bullets and five CPUs. Javed Ahmed’s elder brother, Zahid, a former SIMI member, is now in the “wanted list’’ of the ATS for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts. Mushtaque’s brother, Ishtiyaque, has also been shown wanted in the remand paper in the case.

This is not the first time that Nihal Ahmed is planning to field a MCOCA accused in election. In the last corporation election, he had fielded MCOCA accused Abdul Aziz, alias Aziz Lallu. Lallu won with a huge margin.

While a section of Malegaon residents said that an accused contesting election was not against the Constitution espe
cially when the candidate had not been convicted, many in the township felt that ahead of the election, Nihal Ahmed wanted to cash in on the sympathy for the arrested Malegaon blasts accused. Nihal Ahmed was Malegaon’s MLA for over 22 years. Residents said he did nothing for the constituency. He neither constructed any engineering or medical college nor came up with good policy for the over one lakh powerlooms in Malegaon, they said.

Some observers said that Nihal Ahmed’s latest gambit might be intended to blunt the threat from a new front formed in Malegaon a few months ago, which comprises educated people and Ulemas (clerics).

A major section of the educated in Malegaon supports the front. “The new front could play a key role in the election and could cause major problems for Nihal Ahmed’s party and, therefore, he is trying another trick,’’ a Malegaon resident said.

The Times of India, November 16, 2006

Police probe if 7/11 accused had any role

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is questioning two accused in the Malegaon blasts case to ascertain if they received any support from Faisal Shaikh, a key figure in the Mumbai serial blasts case.

The duo, Mohammed Ali and Asif Bashir Khan, alias Junaid, were first booked for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai blasts and later for the Malegaon blasts. Faisal, a resident of Mira Road who is alleged to be Western India commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, had his schooling in Malegaon. He has been arrested for the July 11 blasts.

The crime branch claimed that the 29-year-old had been in Malegaon for six to seven years during his education at Jamiat-ul-Huda. The ATS is now trying to find out if Faisal had met
any of those arrested in connection with the Malegaon blasts and if he had any hand in the conspiracy. On September 8, four bombs went off in Malegaon. The ATS has arrested seven persons in the case, including two Unani doctors, Salman Farsi and Farogh Makhdomi.

The ATS said Ali and Junaid were involved in the hatching of the conspiracy in February. They were arrested in connection with the 7/11 blasts.

The police said that Ali and Farsi were neighbours in Govandi; Ali had even stood surety for Farsi when the latter was arrested by the Govandi police in 2003. Faisal had come to Govandi to meet Ali on several occasions, and the police suspect
that Ali might have introduced Farsi to him.

Ali and Junaid are alleged to have transported RDX used in Malegaon. Sources said the police were probing if Faisal also took part in the Malegaon blasts conspiracy or if he provided support to those arrested in the case.

In the 7/11 case, it is alleged that the bombs planted in suburban trains were assembled in Ali’s Govandi house. Faisal was said to be present when the bombs were being made. Later, the bombs were transported from Govandi to Faisal’s Bandra flat, the police said. The police are also exploring if the RDX smuggled to Malegaon came with the huge consignment used in the train bombings. The police said Faisal had even received hawala money to execute the train bombings.

The Times of India, November 16, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Malegaon locals avoid minorities panel meeting

UP IN ARMS: The residents are protesting against the arrests in the Malegaon blasts probe

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The state minorities commission which had called a meeting of representatives of Malegaon residents and the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) in the city on Monday in a bid to diffuse resentment in the powerloom township against arrests in the blasts case got a jolt when they realised not a single person from Malegaon was present.

Residents are planning a bandh on Tuesday to protest
against arrests in the case. The commission has appealed to residents to reconsider the bandh.

The ATS has arrested five persons in connection with the September 8 incident when four bombs went off, killing 38 people and injuring 297 others. However, Malegaon residents are not convinced with the arrests and are demanding that the real culprits be brought to book. The ATS has claimed that the accused carried out
the blasts with the help of their Pakistani accomplices.

“There is talk that the minority community in Malegaon is being targeted by the police. We are here to solve problems and bridge the gap between the people and the police through dialogue,’’ said Abraham Mathai, vice-chairman of the commission. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said the panel could play an important role in bridging the gap between the police and residents. “If the police feels the probe is going in the right direction then why is there a bandh call? The bandh will result in economic losses and create further distrust between the police and the community,’’ Bhatt said, adding it was the duty of the police to eliminate fear from the minds of people. “I hope the bandh doesn’t result in any untoward incident. The police should provide bandobast and handle the situation sensitively.’’

ATS deputy inspector-general S K Jaiswal said the police were conducting the probe in a fair manner. “We will gain the faith of the community once we file the chargesheet. The police are looking for other suspects,’’ Jaiswal said.

Some panel members had earlier said the ATS would be showing them evidence in the case. On this, criminal lawyer Majeed Memon, who is also the NCP general secretary, said Jaiswal had not shown any evidence. He said that Jaiswal had told the panel that the police had not made any wrong arrests.

The Times of India, November 14, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Huda helped make RDX bombs

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Investigations into the Malegaon blasts have revealed that Noor-ul-Huda, who was first arrested for allegedly planting a dummy bomb, had, in fact, helped assemble the RDX bombs that killed 38 people on September 8.

It has now transpired that the dummy bomb, which helped the police crack the case, was planted by one Raees Ahmed.


Sources from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said that after the arrest of Shabbir Masiullah (34) in August, Huda was looking after Masiullah’s battery unit located on the outskirts of Malegaon. Huda (23) was employed in the unit as a mechanic.

Masiullah was arrested by the crime branch for his alleged association with the banned organisation, Stu
dents Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). He is alleged to have attended a month-long terror training camp in Pakistan.

“The battery unit was jointly owned by Masiullah and his brother-in-law, Raees Ahmed (36). After Masiullah’s arrest, Ahmed made all busi
ness deals and Huda helped him in manufacturing or repairing batteries and inverters,’’ an ATS officer said.

The officer said that the RDX, ammonium nitrate, and fuel oil used in the Malegaon blasts were brought to Masiullah’s unit, where an expert made the bombs. “Huda had
helped in assembling the bombs. He made this disclosure during interrogation,’’ the officer said.

However, the ATS is tightlipped about the identity of the bomb-maker. “Our investigation is at a crucial stage and disclosing these things could hamper it,’’ an officer said.

Huda and Masiullah were booked in the Malegaon blasts case along with Ahmed. While Masiullah is accused of conspiring in the blasts, Huda is said to have planted the bombs.
ATS sources said it was Ahmed, a resident of Aayesha Nagar in Malegaon, and not Huda, who had planted the dummy bomb at a mosque in Malegaon on September 12 to create communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims. An ATS officer said, “Huda packed mud in two boxes with two batteries connected to wires to make them look like a bomb. The mud was from Masiullah’s battery unit and
Ahmed planted the bomb in the mosque near a Hindu locality,’’ said the officer.

“When the boxes were spotted, we rushed to the mosque with our dog squad. The dog sat there after sniffing the boxes. It was an indication that the boxes contained explosive. The NSG dogs were also called and they also reacted in the same manner. When the boxes were opened in an open space we found only mud. The question arose: when there was only mud, why did the sniffer dogs signal explosives? We sent the mud for a chemical analysis and found that the mud contained traces of RDX,’’ an officer said.

ATS sources said they got information about Huda, Shabbir and other persons, who were on the watchlist of the police, from local residents. “We picked them up after cross-examination of facts and after a thorough verification,’’ a senior officer of the ATS said.


PROTEST AGAINST ARRESTS:

Over 500 people gathered inside the Bada Qabrastan (cemetery) to observe a ‘Black Day’ on Friday after offering namaz. “Most of them had covered their faces with a black cloth, just like the police covers the face of an accused,’’ said Rajesh Pradhan, additional superintendent of police in Malegaon. The protesters said they were not convinced with the recent arrests made in the Malegaon blasts case. The police should arrest the “real culprits’’, they said. People from the Hindu community and the families
of the victims and the deceased also took part in the protest. The protest was peaceful, the police said.

The Times of India, November 11, 2006

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Unani docs held for Malegaon conspiracy

Malegaon blast suspect, Dr Salman Farsi

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Unani doctors S a l m a n Farsi (35) a n d F a r o g h Makhdomi (33), who were ar rested on Monday night in connection with the Malegaon blasts, had been arrested in 2003 for publishing and distributing pamphlets denouncing unIslamic rites, something that the police deemed as ‘provocative literature’. Apart from this, they have no police record. Farsi, though, was associated with a former SIMI member.

According to Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, the two doctors participated in a meeting held at the Malegaon godown of another blast accused, Shabbir Masiullah, in February where the blasts conspiracy was hatched.

The ATS said it seized large quantities of “seditious literature, notebooks containing cuttings of newspapers and code numbers’’ from Farsi’s clinic at Govandi slum in northeast Mumbai. The ATS had also conducted cotton swab tests on the clinic to ascertain if it had been used to
store RDX. The two doctors could also be subjected to analysis and lie-detector tests.

According to his neighbours, Farsi was popular in Govandi slums in northeast Mumbai for treating the poor free of charge. Farsi’s nephew, Noor-ul-Huda, a labourer, was the first person to be booked in the Malegaon blasts case on October 30. In fact, he was present in the Malegaon sessions court premises when Farsi was produced there. A former SIMI member, Farsi was earlier arrested by the Govandi police in 2003 for publishing pamphlets denouncing unIslamic rituals.

Farsi was picked up on Monday night at 9.30 pm from his 8x6 ft clinic. His ground floor rented room is a lane away from the clinic. Farsi’s three children arrived from their grandparents’ home in
Malegaon to Mumbai on Tuesday. His burka-clad wife Nafeesa, also a Unani doctor, runs her clinic from their residence. “I was shocked to learn that my husband was arrested. But I came because I have to send my children to school,’’ she said.

A Bachelor in Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) from Tibbiya college in Malegaon in 1996, Farsi practised at Saleem Nagar in Malegaon and came to Mumbai for better prospects.

Farogh Makhdomi (33), the other person to be arrested on Monday, was picked up from Malegaon where he runs a clinic at Ramzanpura area.
Both men have their roots in Malegaon.

Makhdomi’s father, Iqbal Makhdomi, a retired teacher, said his son was interrogated by the ATS on October 7 and allowed to leave. Unlike Farsi, he practised for four years in Madanpura, central Mumbai, and later shifted to Malegaon.

Makhdomi was arrested by the Ayesha Nagar police station in Malegaon in 2003 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, again for publishing pamphlets denouncing unIslamic rites. The trial is pending in this case. The ATS has seized Makhdomi’s mobile phone and has sent it for a call analysis.

The Times ofIndia, November 8, 2006

7/11 BLASTS CASE - No chargesheet before Indo-Pak talks, says ATS

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Tuesday clarified that it will not file the chargesheet in the 7/11 Mumbai serial blasts case before the second week of November, when the Centre and Pakistan are due to hold joint secretarylevel talks in New Delhi. Though the Centre has not asked the ATS to hurry the chargesheet, it has said it wants to hand over evidence of a Pakistani hand in the blasts during the Delhi talks.

The ATS said it will not file the document in a hurry, but will submit it to the court by the stipulated deadline, which is December 5, along with all the evidence available against the accused. However, the evidence collected so far can be submitted to the Centre to be handed to Pakistan during the talks, the ATS said.

ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, who has personally interrogated all the accused, said that the investigation was being done meticulously and in a professional manner and the police were gathering all evidence.

Talking about the alleged Pakistani hand, Raghuvanshi said, “We were not collecting the evidence against Inter Ser
vice Intelligence (ISI) or Pakistan, but against those involved in the blasts, which killed around 200 people. During the investigation, many secrets were revealed by the arrested men and we have informed the court about it.’’

Seven bombs planted in seven local trains went off on July 11, killing 192 people and injuring over 400. So far, the police have 13 people in custody in the blast case. Three other men were discharged since there was “insufficient evidence of their involvement in the case’’, police said.

All the accused were booked under MCOCA, a stringent law introduced in Maharashtra in 1999 to combat organised crime. When asked about when the chargesheet would be filed, the ATS chief said, “No government can direct the police to file a chargesheet. As of now, we have no direction or compulsion from the government to file the chargesheet. In a normal exercise, a chargesheet is filed in 90 days. Under the provisions of MCOCA we can file the chargesheet in 180 days. We can also request the court for an extension and file the chargesheet even later to give all the evidence. We will try to file it in the given time-frame.’’


Does the ATS have clinching evidence about Pakistan’s involvement? “Our duty is to submit the evidence to the court. It will be up to the court to decide whether it is clinching or not,’’ he added.

The ATS also has the option of filing a supplementary chargesheet later. “In the 1993 blast case, one of the accused, Abu Salem, was not arrested but the chargesheet was filed and the trial began. After his arrest in India, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against him. To file the chargesheet against an accused, he must be arrested,’’ Raghuvanshi said.

The ATS has so far not found any link between the Aurangabad arms haul case and the Karnavati Express blast. However, it is probing the link between the Mumbai train bombings and the Malegaon blasts. “There may or may not be a link between the two,” he said.

Police sources said they have confessional statements from several of the accused in the 7/11 case. The accused allegedly said they underwent training in a Pakistan terror camp. These accused include Faisal Shaikh, Muzammil, Dr Tanvir Ansari, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail and Kamal Ansari.


Accused was tortured: Kin
Mumbai
: Mukhtar Ahmed Shaikh, the brother of Mohammed Ali Shaikh, an accused in the 7/11 blasts case, has alleged in an application made before a special MCOCA court that Mohammed was tortured in custody by high ranking police officials.

“The court has ordered the superintendent of Arthur Road jail to send Mohammed for a medical examination and submit a report by November 9 when the complaint would be taken up for hearing again,’’ said advocate Anjali Iyer.

Mohammed Shaikh is the man in whose Govandi home the bombs were allegedly assembled before being planted on suburban local trains. Mukhtar has said that he met Mohammed at Arthur Road jail on November 6 and he told him that he was assaulted by police officers. He claimed they wanted him to sign a confessional statement. Mohammed also said he was also threatened not to say a word about the torture to the court or his family would be falsely implicated in a criminal case.

Raj denies threats to 7/11 lawyers
Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray has denied allegations that he had warned lawyers not to represent those who are accused in the July 11, 2006, serial train blasts case.

In an affidavit submitted on Tuesday before the Bombay high vourt, where he is facing a contempt of court petition, Thackeray claimed that the media had “misinterpreted’’ and “grossly twisted’’ all his statements.

The contempt petition was filed by the voluntary organisations, Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers and Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, after a nod from Maharashtra advocategeneral Ravi Kadam.

In a rally on July 16, 2006, to pay condolences to the victims of the serial train blasts, Thackeray had reportedly warned lawyers against representing accused arrested for the blasts conspiracy.

In his affidavit, Thackeray claimed his statements were misinterpreted, but at the same time the MNS chief said he had the right to protest and express his opinions against lawyers defending such accused. “What was said and what was intended by me was that my party would stage demonstrations against lawyers who accepted the brief of the accused in the bomb blasts,’’ said Thackeray adding that his statements were inspired by a “moral and social conscience’’.

While apologising to the
court if any of his statements were offensive, Thackeray reiterated, “I am not going to physically prevent any lawyer from accepting briefs, but had appealed to their moral conscience.’’ The petition also claimed that the contempt charges were premature as at the time the statements were made, no case had been filed in any court.

In his letter approving the contempt charges, the A-G had said considering the reported statements made by Thackeray, a prima facie case was made out for criminal contempt of court as any conduct likely to deter an advocate is also interference with the course of justice.

The Times of India, November 8, 2006

No chargesheet before Indo-Pak talks, says ATS

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Tuesday clarified that it will not file the chargesheet in the 7/11 Mumbai serial blasts case before the second week of November, when the Centre and Pakistan are due to hold joint secretarylevel talks in New Delhi. Though the Centre has not asked the ATS to hurry the chargesheet, it has said it wants to hand over evidence of a Pakistani hand in the blasts during the Delhi talks.

The ATS said it will not file the document in a hurry, but will submit it to the court by the stipulated deadline, which is December 5, along with all the evidence available against the accused. However, the evidence collected so far can be submitted to the Centre to be handed to Pakistan during the talks, the ATS said.

ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, who has personally interrogated all the accused, said that the investigation was being done meticulously and in a professional manner and the police were gathering all evidence.

Talking about the alleged Pakistani hand, Raghuvanshi said, “We were not collecting the evidence against Inter Ser
vice Intelligence (ISI) or Pakistan, but against those involved in the blasts, which killed around 200 people. During the investigation, many secrets were revealed by the arrested men and we have informed the court about it.’’

Seven bombs planted in seven local trains went off on July 11, killing 192 people and injuring over 400. So far, the police have 13 people in custody in the blast case. Three other men were discharged since there was “insufficient evidence of their involvement in the case’’, police said.

All the accused were booked under MCOCA, a stringent law introduced in Maharashtra in 1999 to combat organised crime. When asked about when the chargesheet would be filed, the ATS chief said, “No government can direct the police to file a chargesheet. As of now, we have no direction or compulsion from the government to file the chargesheet. In a normal exercise, a chargesheet is filed in 90 days. Under the provisions of MCOCA we can file the chargesheet in 180 days. We can also request the court for an extension and file the chargesheet even later to give all the evidence. We will try to file it in the given time-frame.’’


Does the ATS have clinching evidence about Pakistan’s involvement? “Our duty is to submit the evidence to the court. It will be up to the court to decide whether it is clinching or not,’’ he added.

The ATS also has the option of filing a supplementary chargesheet later. “In the 1993 blast case, one of the accused, Abu Salem, was not arrested but the chargesheet was filed and the trial began. After his arrest in India, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against him. To file the chargesheet against an accused, he must be arrested,’’ Raghuvanshi said.

The ATS has so far not found any link between the Aurangabad arms haul case and the Karnavati Express blast. However, it is probing the link between the Mumbai train bombings and the Malegaon blasts. “There may or may not be a link between the two,” he said.

Police sources said they have confessional statements from several of the accused in the 7/11 case. The accused allegedly said they underwent training in a Pakistan terror camp. These accused include Faisal Shaikh, Muzammil, Dr Tanvir Ansari, Zameer Shaikh, Sohail and Kamal Ansari.


Accused was tortured: Kin
Mumbai: Mukhtar Ahmed Shaikh, the brother of Mohammed Ali Shaikh, an accused in the 7/11 blasts case, has alleged in an application made before a special MCOCA court that Mohammed was tortured in custody by high ranking police officials.
“The court has ordered the superintendent of Arthur Road jail to send Mohammed for a medical examination and submit a report by November 9 when the complaint would be taken up for hearing again,’’ said advocate Anjali Iyer.
Mohammed Shaikh is the man in whose Govandi home the bombs were allegedly assembled before being planted on suburban local trains. Mukhtar has said that he met Mohammed at Arthur Road jail on November 6 and he told him that he was assaulted by police officers. He claimed they wanted him to sign a confessional statement. Mohammed also said he was also threatened not to say a word about the torture to the court or his family would be falsely implicated in a criminal case.

Raj denies threats to 7/11 lawyers
Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray has denied allegations that he had warned lawyers not to represent those who are accused in the July 11, 2006, serial train blasts case.

In an affidavit submitted on Tuesday before the Bombay high vourt, where he is facing a contempt of court petition, Thackeray claimed that the media had “misinterpreted’’ and “grossly twisted’’ all his statements.

The contempt petition was filed by the voluntary organisations, Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers and Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, after a nod from Maharashtra advocategeneral Ravi Kadam.

In a rally on July 16, 2006, to pay condolences to the victims of the serial train blasts, Thackeray had reportedly warned lawyers against representing accused arrested for the blasts conspiracy.

In his affidavit, Thackeray claimed his statements were misinterpreted, but at the same time the MNS chief said he had the right to protest and express his opinions against lawyers defending such accused. “What was said and what was intended by me was that my party would stage demonstrations against lawyers who accepted the brief of the accused in the bomb blasts,’’ said Thackeray adding that his statements were inspired by a “moral and social conscience’’.

While apologising to the
court if any of his statements were offensive, Thackeray reiterated, “I am not going to physically prevent any lawyer from accepting briefs, but had appealed to their moral conscience.’’ The petition also claimed that the contempt charges were premature as at the time the statements were made, no case had been filed in any court.

In his letter approving the contempt charges, the A-G had said considering the reported statements made by Thackeray, a prima facie case was made out for criminal contempt of court as any conduct likely to deter an advocate is also interference with the course of justice.

The Times of India, November 8, 2006

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

He plans to appeal in HC

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Gangster Anil Parab, convicted to life imprisonment for attempting to kill a witness inside a courtroom, has denied any links with Dawood Ibrahim.
A short, stocky man in his mid-40’s —- Parab used to be called ‘Vangya’ (Marathi for brinjal), a name that stuck even during media coverage of his trial until he filed an application re
questing the judge to intervene — the gangster has decided to appeal against the judgment in the high court. Sitting on a bench in the Mumbai civil and sessions court corridors along with his daughters and other family members after the verdict, Parab appeared composed. Wearing a grey shirt and trouser with sports shoes, he also sported vermillion on his forehead.

“I was an auto driver and a passenger told me that he wanted to go to Andheri court. I drove my auto over there and went inside to see the court’s proceedings. In the courtroom when I was taking my kerchief out of my pocket, the policemen thought I was pulling a revolver and before I could have told them that it wasn’t a revolver, they fired at me. I sustained seven bullet injuries,’’ said Parab, narrating his version of the events that occurred inside the court in 1984.

According to him, five years after the alleged shootout, he moved to Dubai in search of better prospects and stayed on to run a business for nearly 14 years. “I was
running my own electronics shop at Dera in Dubai,’’ he claimed.

So why was he deported to India? Pat come the answer. “I heard from some of my friends and relatives that the police had wrongly implicated me in several cases. I decided to come to India after staying in Dubai for 14 years,’’ he said.

Parab, who was deported from Dubai on April 21, 2003, insists that UAE authorities did not deport him —- he says he finally came to India “on his own’’.

When asked about his affiliation with Dawood Ibrahim, he said, “I am a patriot, Dawood is a traitor. When I told policemen that I am not affiliated with Dawood, police informed the jail authorities and I was kept separately from the Dgang and was given protection. I never worked with any gang.’’

The Times of India, November 7, 2006

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Arms haul, blasts linked, say cops

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: A link between the Aurangabad arms haul case and the Malegaon blasts emerged on Friday when the anti-terrorism squaed (ATS) revealed the names of three wanted acccused in the Malegaon case.

The ATS in its remand paper said that Mohammed Zahid, Riyaz Ahmed and Ishtiaq Ahmed, all three absconding, were involved in the Malegaon blasts. The brothers of Zahid and Ishtiaq, identified as Mohammed Javed and Mushtaque Ahmed, are lodged at the Arthur Road jail for their alleged complicity in the Aurangabad case.

The ATS had arrested 19 people in the Aurangabad case and seized 43kg RDX, 16 AK-47 assault rifles, 3,200 live cartridges and 50 hand grenades from Auranagabad and neighbouring districts in May this year.

The ATS has already arrested two, Noor-ul-Huda and Shabbir Masiullah, for the Malegaon blasts. The ATS stated that Masiullah had been to Pakistan and had undergone militant’s training sponsored by the ISI.

The police said that Zahid, Ishtiaq and Riyaz were associated with the banned organisation, SIMI. It is learnt that Zahid is absconding for the last two years. He was reportedly the vice-president of SIMI’s Malegaon unit. Zahid, who worked as a powerloom labourer was taken into custody twice during preventive arrests—first in 1999 by the Malegaon city police station and for second time in 2000 by the Ayesha Nagar police station.

The trials in both the cases are pending. Zahid’s brother, Javed, who was arrested from Malegaon in May in the arms haul case, is accused of transporting RDX and AK-47 assault rifles in an Indica car.

The car was driven by Zabihuddin Ansari, alias Zaby, who fled on May 9 and is believed to be in Pakistan.

Aurangabad arms haul case accused Mushtaque’s brother, Ishtiaq who is one of the three wanted accused in the Malegaon blasts case, is said to have been a hawker selling old clothes. In the arms haul case, Mushtaque is accused of unloading the firarms and ammunition and hiding them in an electronic shop.

In the remand paper, the ATS mentioned that the accused in the Malegaon blasts were members of an organised crime syndicate, which had been carrying on unlawful activities in Maharashtra and was associated with international terror outfits.

The Times of India, November 4, 2006

Arms haul, blasts linked, say cops

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: A link between the Aurangabad arms haul case and the Malegaon blasts emerged on Friday when the anti-terrorism squaed (ATS) revealed the names of three wanted acccused in the Malegaon case.

The ATS in its remand paper said that Mohammed Zahid, Riyaz Ahmed and Ishtiaq Ahmed, all three absconding, were involved in the Malegaon blasts. The brothers of Zahid and Ishtiaq, identified as Mohammed Javed and Mushtaque Ahmed, are lodged at the Arthur Road jail for their alleged complicity in the Aurangabad case.

The ATS had arrested 19 people in the Aurangabad case and seized 43kg RDX, 16 AK-47 assault rifles, 3,200 live cartridges and 50 hand grenades from Auranagabad and neighbouring districts in May this year.

The ATS has already arrested two, Noor-ul-Huda and Shabbir Masiullah, for the Malegaon blasts. The ATS stated that Masiullah had been to Pakistan and had undergone militant’s training sponsored by the ISI.

The police said that Zahid, Ishtiaq and Riyaz were associated with the banned organisation, SIMI. It is learnt that Zahid is absconding for the last two years. He was reportedly the vice-president of SIMI’s Malegaon unit. Zahid, who worked as a powerloom labourer was taken into custody twice during preventive arrests—first in 1999 by the Malegaon city police station and for second time in 2000 by the Ayesha Nagar police station.

The trials in both the cases are pending. Zahid’s brother, Javed, who was arrested from Malegaon in May in the arms haul case, is accused of transporting RDX and AK-47 assault rifles in an Indica car.

The car was driven by Zabihuddin Ansari, alias Zaby, who fled on May 9 and is believed to be in Pakistan.

Aurangabad arms haul case accused Mushtaque’s brother, Ishtiaq who is one of the three wanted accused in the Malegaon blasts case, is said to have been a hawker selling old clothes. In the arms haul case, Mushtaque is accused of unloading the firarms and ammunition and hiding them in an electronic shop.

In the remand paper, the ATS mentioned that the accused in the Malegaon blasts were members of an organised crime syndicate, which had been carrying on unlawful activities in Maharashtra and was associated with international terror outfits.

The Times of India, November 4, 2006

Friday, November 3, 2006

‘Most-wanted’ in every case

Malegaon blast suspect Noor-ul-Huda

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The family of Noor-ul-Huda, the first person to be booked in the Malegaon blasts case, says he is being made a scapegoat. “After the Aurangabad arms haul, the police picked him up and took him to Mumbai on May 11. They interrogated him and then let him go,’’ said Huda’s father Shamsud Duha, a labourer.

Five persons from Malegaon were arrested and booked in the arms haul case. They were Dr Shareef, Mo
hammed Javed, Riyaz Ahmed, Mushtaque Ahmed and Afzal Khan. “Huda, as usual, was taken by the police for questioning. We are used to seeing him being picked up during Ramzan, Ganeshotsav, Diwali and so on. He would be kept at the police station for hours before being allowed to go home,’’ Duha said. However, when asked about his detention in connection with the arms haul case, ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi denied he was ever detained.

Duha said Huda, a Class X dropout, was first picked up on August 18, 2001, for his alleged association with the banned SIMI. He was just 19 years old then. “The police were looking for someone called Noor who had arranged accommodation for two terrorists at Ashoka Lodge. They came here and arrested my son saying he was the same Noor,’’ said Duha.

Huda was detained by the Mumbai crime branch between August 4 and 14 this year. He was also detained during the probe into the 7/11 train bombings in Mumbai. He was released in both cases. The police said the Malegaon conspiracy was hatched almost 8 months ago. “If it’s true then why were the police unable to make Huda speak while he was questioned? On October 9, he was arrested in the dummy bomb case and even after keeping him in custody for over 20 days the police could not get him to speak,’’ Huda’s lawyer Azeem Khan said.

The Times of India, November 3, 2006

City hand in Malegaon blasts

MYSTERY MAN: According to the ATS, the Mumbai resident had been trained in Pakistan

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The devices and explosives used in the Malegaon blast on September 8 this year were assembled in a godown in the textile town and the bomb was made by a Mumbai-based man who visited the powerloom township in the first week of September, sources in the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said.

The Mumbai resident had been trained by Al-Badar, a wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the police said. “LeT’s training chief Azam Cheema had sent money for this blast and over a dozen people, who are suspected to have links with this blast, from Malegaon are under our radar,’’ a source said.

However, the police are still not sure whether the blast was executed by Al-Badar or the LeT. “We are trying to get information about the place from where the accused got the RDX which
was used in all the four bombs and who had smuggled it,’’ sources said. Investigators indicated that a Pakistani is involved who had allegedly entered Malegaon.

An ATS officer, under condition of anonymity, said, “The Mumbai man was trained in Pakistan for bomb-making and assembling devices. He reached Malegaon in the first week of September, stayed there for a couple of days, and after assembling the bomb he returned to Mumbai,’’ a source said.

The ATS claimed the suspect’s motive was to perpetuate communal riots in the powerloom town. When asked why the accused bombed a Muslim cemetery, an officer said, “The planters didn’t know that it was a heavy bomb. They were told that it would only create some terror among the public,’’ a source said.

A team of ATS officers comprising DCP Bawiskar, assistant commissioner Kisan Shengal, inspector Sanjay Khaire and sub inspectors Sunil Mane and Dyaneshwar Ahwari are probing the Malegaon blast case which killed 38 people and injured 297 others. Three bombs planted on cycles went off in a cemetery and the fourth bomb at Mushawerat chowk area in Central Malegaon.

The ATS on Wednesday also booked Shabbir Masiullah on charges of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy in the Malegaon blast case. He is the second accused to be arrested in the blast case. Noorul-Huda (24) was the first person to be booked on October 30.

The Times of India, November, 3, 2006

City hand in Malegaon blasts

MYSTERY MAN: According to the ATS, the Mumbai resident had been trained in Pakistan

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The devices and explosives used in the Malegaon blast on September 8 this year were assembled in a godown in the textile town and the bomb was made by a Mumbai-based man who visited the powerloom township in the first week of September, sources in the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said.

The Mumbai resident had been trained by Al-Badar, a wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the police said. “LeT’s training chief Azam Cheema had sent money for this blast and over a dozen people, who are suspected to have links with this blast, from Malegaon are under our radar,’’ a source said.

However, the police are still not sure whether the blast was executed by Al-Badar or the LeT. “We are trying to get information about the place from where the accused got the RDX which
was used in all the four bombs and who had smuggled it,’’ sources said. Investigators indicated that a Pakistani is involved who had allegedly entered Malegaon.

An ATS officer, under condition of anonymity, said, “The Mumbai man was trained in Pakistan for bomb-making and assembling devices. He reached Malegaon in the first week of September, stayed there for a couple of days, and after assembling the bomb he returned to Mumbai,’’ a source said.

The ATS claimed the suspect’s motive was to perpetuate communal riots in the powerloom town. When asked why the accused bombed a Muslim cemetery, an officer said, “The planters didn’t know that it was a heavy bomb. They were told that it would only create some terror among the public,’’ a source said.

A team of ATS officers comprising DCP Bawiskar, assistant commissioner Kisan Shengal, inspector Sanjay Khaire and sub inspectors Sunil Mane and Dyaneshwar Ahwari are probing the Malegaon blast case which killed 38 people and injured 297 others. Three bombs planted on cycles went off in a cemetery and the fourth bomb at Mushawerat chowk area in Central Malegaon.

The ATS on Wednesday also booked Shabbir Masiullah on charges of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy in the Malegaon blast case. He is the second accused to be arrested in the blast case. Noorul-Huda (24) was the first person to be booked on October 30.

The Times of India, November 3, 2006