‘Book Maharashtra ATS men for implicating innocents in terror cases’

Mumbai : The Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (Arshad Madni group) on Tuesday demanded action against officials of the state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) for “falsely implicating” innocent Muslim youths in various terror cases.

JUeM legal cell secretary Gulzar Azmi said the ATS had probed the Aurangabad arms haul, the 7/11 Mumbai serial train blasts, and the Malegaon 2006 blasts in 2006.

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He accused the ATS of lodging “false cases” against Muslim youths, many of whom were later found to be innocent by the courts.

He said that after spending varying period of 5-10 years in jails, the lives of the youths have been ruined.

Azmi alleged that in the 7/11 Mumbai serial train blasts, of the 13 accused, the ATS falsely made two of the accused — Mohammed Ali Alam Shaikh and Asif Bashir Khan — as accused even in the 2006 Malegaon blasts when the duo was in judicial custody.

“Then the ATS made attempts to turn the accused into approvers by illegally visiting them at the Arthur Road Central Jail, in return for cash incentives and promises of resettlement abroad,” Azmi said.

Though all three cases occurred on different dates in different cities, yet the ATS by its faulty investigations claimed a “common link” and framed the same set of accused in those cases, he alleged.

The nine accused in the Malegaon 2006 cases secured bail in 2011 after the National Investigation Agency found no evidence against them, but by then the accused had already suffered five years in prison.

In the Aurangabad arms haul case, the accused were arrested and later sent to judicial custody. The ATS framed one accused in the Mumbai 7/11 serial train blasts, Faisal Attaur Rehman Shaikh, in the Aurangabad case after he had spent nearly two months in judicial custody, Azmi added.

“Recently, a Mumbai Special Court discharged all the nine accused in the Malegaon 2006 case for lack of evidence, but by then the ATS had destroyed their lives as the accused spent nearly 10 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit,” Azmi said.

The ATS had claimed that the RDX left over from the 7/11 Mumbai blasts was used for the Malegaon 2006 blasts, and one accused, Mohammed Ali, was charged with providing logistics support in the case, but these were subsequently proved to be lies.

“The special judge observed in the discharge order that the innocent men in the Malegaon 2006 case were made ‘scapegoats’ by the ATS,” he said.

In all the three cases, the accused have claimed and pleaded before the courts that they were tortured by the ATS and their ‘confessions’ extracted under force, he said.