Mateen Hafeez | TNN Mumbai: Investigations into the arrest of Abdul Samad Zarar alias Samad Bhatkal in a nine-month-old case have revealed that Bhatkal has hardly been questioned about the arms haul case for which he has been booked. Sleuths from the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) are mostly focusing their questioning around Pune’s German Bakery blast case.
Sources in the ATS said that he was grilled repeatedly about his whereabouts on February 13, when a powerful bomb went off in the bakery, killing 17. However, Bhatkal’s answers were “not satisfactory’’. The ATS, which arrested Bhatkal for possessing three revolvers, is still not sure what to do with the case. While Union home ministry has announced the “arrest’’ of the prime suspect in the Pune blast, on the other hand, the police are finding it difficult to make a breakthrough. “We are trying to corroborate Bhatkal’s statement with that of other witnesses. However, most of the time he is giving evasive replies. He will be arrested in the Pune blast case only when his role is confirmed,’’ said the source.
Meanwhile, two delegations of Muslim activists met ATS chief Rakesh Maria and complained about the ‘unnecessary harassment’ to the Muslim boys. Maria, in turn, told the activists not to pay heed on media reports and that he had not arrested Bhatkal for the Pune blast. Maria added that his team had arrested Bhatkal in an arms case.
A senior ATS official, trying to calm down the activists, sent an SMS to an activist, stating, “Please don’t believe in rumour mongering and also don’t cast aspersions on the ATS without ascertaining facts. I will never arrest an innocent person in a terror case. We have arrested Samad in the Arms Act case and not in the Pune case. Let the press and others say anything—without definite and cogent proof, no one would be arrested. At least have faith in the ATS till proved otherwise.’’
The Times of India, May 28, 2010