Maharashtra ATS charge sheeted 4, blaming the attack on Indian Mujahideen

A year after the 13/7 terror attack on Mumbai, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is in charge of the investigation into the incident, is yet to arrest six of the 11 accused named by it in the charge sheet. It has charge sheeted four accused and blamed the Indian Mujahideen for the attack. A supplementary charge sheet is expected to follow for the fifth accused.

On July 13 last year, the accused used Improvised Explosive Device (IED) containing trinitrotoluene, ammonium nitrite and petroleum hydrocarbon oil. They planted the IEDs in two vehicles and on a bus stop at three different locations to carry out bomb blasts at arterial places in the city such as Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar Kabutarkhana.

The key conspirators of the terror plot — Riyaz and Yasin Bhatkal alias Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa — are still at large, and so are the alleged planters of the bomb at Zaveri bazaar and Opera House, earlier identified as A and B and later named as Wakas alias Wakar Ibrahim Sad and Tabrez alias Danish.

Storm over arrest

During the course of the investigation, a storm was raised over the arrest of a Darbhanga youth who, the Delhi Police claimed, was their source who would have led them to Yasin Bhatkal. The ATS investigation was marred by a showdown between the Delhi Police and the Maharashtra ATS, when both the agencies allegedly bickered over the arrest of one of the accused. It is alleged that key perpetrators of the crime could have slipped out of the city due to the bickering and the lack of coordination between the two agencies.

The ATS arrested Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed Shaikh (22), Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaque Shaikh (23), Kawalnayan Wazirchand Pathreja (46), Haroon Rashid Naik (33) and Mohammed Kafil Ansari. It charge sheeted the first four accused.

The agency claimed that Naik had met Osama bin Laden and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the key a conspirator of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. It also said that Haroon underwent illegal arms’ training at Daura-e-aam and Daura-e-khas at Bahawalput in Pakistan in 2001. “He was specifically chosen for an advanced training of 40 days near Kandahar, Afghanistan,” the charge sheet has stated.

Held in fake note case

Naik was arrested in August last year in a fake currency case. His custody was later sought for his involvement in the 13/7 terror attack. He is accused of sending Rs. 10 lakh for the terror attack from Dubai.

Naquee, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar, and helps run a family leather business in Mumbai and Delhi, was first arrested in a fake SIM cards case when the ATS suspected that he and Nadeem provided the bogus SIM cards to IM operatives such as Yasin. The agency has accused Naquee of stealing a vehicle used in the attack and of receiving money and explosives.

Nadeem is also accused of stealing another vehicle for the attack and of bringing explosives from Delhi to Mumbai. He was earlier booked for providing fake SIM cards.

Held under MCOCA

Pathreja is the hawala operator accused of handing over Rs. 10 lakh, which came through hawala transaction from West Asia, to Yasin. He owns a jewellery shop named ‘Jyoti jewellers’ in Chandni Chowk in Delhi and hails from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Kafil Ansari, though not charge sheeted yet, is accused of providing logistical support to the other accused.

The four charge sheeted accused were booked under various sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act , Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act, Explosives Substances Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The charge sheet, running into 4,788 pages, was filed after the ATS investigation — spanning 18 States and comprising 641 witnesses, including 19 eyewitnesses — was completed.

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