Sunday, September 22, 2013

IM bomber walked out of court, took taxi to Sewri

Afzal Usmnai

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Closed circuit cameras near the sessions court show Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani walking out of the court building in south Mumbai on Friday afternoon and taking a taxi after hoodwinking the policemen who had brought him there.
    The 37-year-old arrested in 2008 for stealing cars and helping plant bombs in them in Ahmedabad for serial blasts that killed 56 went to Sewri, where he was last seen at an eatery-cum-tea stall opposite Raza Tower. The building is where bombs used in the 11/7 serial train blasts in the city were allegedly manufactured by Usmani’s group.

    Usmani, who knew the stall owner, reportedly took Rs 600 from him and left the place in a hurry. Hours later, Maharashtra ATS sleuths arrived and interrogated the stall owner, who, sources said, “cooperated” with the
police.  The red-faced city police have formed more than 110 teams to trace Usmani.  Usmani before his arrest five years ago was a frequent visitor to Sewri.  
    Afzal Usmani, 37, accused of stealing cars in Mumbai and helping plant bombs in them for the Ahmedabad serial blasts in 2008 that killed 56
    On Friday, he took a taxi from the sessions court near Hutatma Chowk after walking out of court, show CCTVs
He went to Sewri; after that the trail goes cold
Last seen at an eatery near the building where sleuths say bombs for the 11/7 trains bombings in the city were assembled. He took Rs 600 from the owner & disappeared
Usmani was a regular in the area before his arrest 5 yrs ago 
 Only 2 of 10 escort cops had guns
    We got a report that Usmani visited a particularplaceataparticular time after his escape. Our men visited the place,” said Amitesh Kumar, additional commissioner of police, ATS. Police remained tightlipped abouttheCCTVfootage. 

    Shockingly,agroupof eight men, including Usmani, who have been accused of being bomb-makers, planters and IM shooters,wasbeingescortedby eight unarmed constables and two women constables with self-loading rifles from Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail to the Esplanade courts. It was sheer negligence by police officers, saidsecurityexperts. 

    “Each constable was guarding an accused. So assistant sub-inspector Sanjay Deshmukh who was guarding Usmani andhisboss,assistantpoliceinspectorRamChopde,havebeen primarily held guilty of negligence and suspended. DCP Vijay Patil of traffic police has beenaskedtoconductapreliminary inquiry and submit a report within a week,” said Fateh SinghPatil,additionalcommissionerof NaviMumbaipolice.
    “Police teams visited Taloja prison on Saturday and interviewed IM operatives, especially those in Usmani’s cell. Many suspected IM sympathizers who have not been arrested are under surveillance. Usmani could approach them for money,”said a police officer.     The state police and intelligence agencies are tapping their informers and sharing information with security agencies of other states about possible places Usmani could visit.
    Usmani’s brother Faiz died in police custody in 2011 after the crime branch brought him to its Chembur unit for interrogation. His wife, Ruheda, claimed he was tortured to death but an inquiry report showed Faiz died of heart attack. After Usmani’s arrest, his family left Mumbai and returned to their home town in UP.
    Photographs of Usmani with beard and without beard, his case details, possible places he can be found at,details of relatives, friends and neighbours, his fingerprints, etc, have been provided to police teams and informants in Aurangabad, Thane,Pune,Vashi,Hyderbad,Karnataka and other neighboring states.His photo shave been put up at public places. “We are searching lodges too,”said a DCP.

The Times of India, September 22, 2013

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