The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) court has framed charges (as briefly reported in this edition on Saturday) against the alleged handler of 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case.

The court has charged Ansari with carrying out activities between 1996 and 2006 to strike terror; overawe law by criminal force; create instability in Maharashtra and other parts of India; shake the faith of the citizens in the government by large scale violence; and exploit the communal sentiments of Muslims to provoke them in the name of religion.

The charges were framed were under sections of Mcoca, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act.

Ansari, however, pleaded not guilty to the crimes. He denied being a part of organisations like Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

In his application, Jundal’s lawyer Ejaj Naqvi asked the court not to keep him in solitary confinement in the Arthur Road Jail.

Mr. Naqvi also sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court alleging torture by some of the investigating officers during interrogation.

 On May 8, 2006, a Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad team chased a Tata Sumo and an Indica car on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad and arrested three terror suspects and seized 30 kg of RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets. The car was allegedly driven by Ansari, who managed to give the police the slip and drove to Malegaon.  Jundal belongs to Beed district of Maharashtra. After 2006, he escaped to Bangladesh and then to Pakistan.

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