Monday, March 16, 2009

ATS clean chit to IM leaves Crime Branch red-faced

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is likely to discharge Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Sadiq Shaikh in the July 11, 2006 train blasts case, indicating that no evidence was found to link the outfit with the terror attack. The move may, however, leave the city crime branch red-faced.

In September and October last year, Mumbai crime branch arrested 21 people, who, it said were IM members and stated that during interrogations, Sadiq revealed his involvement in the blasts. This revelation came as a shock to the ATS since it had already arrested 13 suspected SIMI members in the train blasts case and filed a 11,000-page chargesheet against them.

It is learnt that the ATS, which questioned Sadiq for over two weeks, was not convinced with the crime branch's theory. An ATS officer said that Sadiq (31) was giving contradictory statements — sometimes he said his group was involved and at other times he said he gave this statement under pressure.

"We arrested him on February 28 in the train blast case and questioned him. However, there is no evidence to link him with the train blasts. We will soon file a report in court asking for Sadiq to be discharged in this case,'' an ATS officer said.

A news channel had recently aired a CD containing Sadiq's confessional statement about the train blast. However, the ATS has rubished all these claims, giving Sadiq a clean chit.

TOI had earlier reported that during a polygraph test Sadiq told the forensic experts that he had lied about the outfit's involvement in the train blasts. This brought a new twist to the tale as Sadiq, till then, had told the Mumbai crime branch, the Ahmedabad police and the Delhi police that he and his accomplices engineered the explosions.

The state forensic science laboratory on Saturday sent a brain mapping and polygraph test report to the ATS saying as per the tests he was not involved in the train blasts and that he had lied during the interrogations conducted by other agencies.

The crime branch had claimed that the bombs for the blasts were manufactured in a Sewree flat and the RDX was procured by a wanted accused, Riyaz Bhatkal. But the ATS is sticking to its old theory that the bombs were assembled at a 100 sq ft flat in Govandi and not at Sewree. The ATS said that the RDX was procured by a Pakistani Ehsanullah, who had illegally entered India along with 10 other Pakistani accomplices.

No comments: