Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi on Saturday stirred up a controversy by meeting the family of a suspect in the ONGC terror plot case on “humanitarian grounds” and said he was ready to face any inquiry by police.
“I met the family of Riyaz Ali on humanitarian grounds, after a request from my party corporator in suburban Bandra,” Mr. Azmi told reporters.
“I am a people’s representative and there is nothing wrong in meeting families.”
Declining to comment when asked if he thought Riyaz Ali was innocent, Mr. Azmi said he is ready to face any inquiry by police.
A suspected Pakistan-linked terror plot was foiled with police on March 13 arresting Mumbai residents Abdul Latif alias Guddu (29) and Riyaz Ali alias Rehan (23) who were planning to attack three targets including ONGC headquarters.
Defending his meeting with Riyaz’s family, Mr. Azmi said “After the arrest of Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel S.P. Purohit, BJP leader L.K. Advani met the Prime Minister on the issue.”
Shiv Sena had also organised protests to admit the sadhvi in hospital while she was under arrest, Mr. Azmi said.
“Why is only my image being maligned in media?” he asked.
On State Home Minister R.R. Patil’s remarks that he will probe Mr. Azmi’s intention behind meeting Shahzad, arrested in 2008 Delhi blast case and the Batla House encounter, Mr. Azmi said “I have neither seen nor met Shahzad. However, I knew his father and met him 20 years back in Saudi Arabia.”
Indicating involvement of Hindu organisations in the Pune German Bakery blast, Mr. Azmi said there is a possibility that the organisations behind Malegaon, Nanded, Thane and Navi Mumbai blasts were also behind the Pune blast.