Vikram Rautela,Wednesday, February 22, 2006 09:14:39 pmTIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Who is Abu Tallah? Is he a fictitious man created by the Gujarat police to keep booking riot cases against the minority community? This is what the defence counsels of men booked under POTA opine about the so-called member of Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Abu Tallah, who is believed to have masterminded a plan to kill prominent Hindu political leaders and blast some building in Ahmedabad after the 2002 communal riots, is said to be Hyderabad-based. Seven persons were booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in 2003 and Abu Tallah, who is believed to have sponsored them, was listed in the column of absconding people in the police chargesheet of December 11, 2003.
Interestingly, the ATS has recently used the absconding man’s name once again to book fresh cases against five persons under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for conspiring to blow up six buildings in Ahmedabad.
Three of the accused — Zaheed Khan, Harith Ansari and Mohammad Junaid — are already lodged in the Sabarmati central jail since December 2003, for allegedly planning to kill BJP leader Maya Kodnani and VHP leader Jaideep Patel during the post Godhra riots of 2002.
According to the ATS’ FIR submitted before a lower court in the first week of February this year, Khan, Ansari and Junaid along with two others, Naim Shaikh and Abdul Shaikh, had also planned to blast some building in the city, with the help of arms and ammunitions supplied by Abu Tallah.
The new police case came after the ATS nabbed one Imtyaz Kadri, from Shah-e-Alam area of Ahmedabad with two country made pistols and 17 cartridges on January 29 this year.
Kadri, who has been bailed out, is believed to have accused Khan of having given him the firearms in 2002. This followed the ATS arresting Khan on a transfer warrant.
Says DIG, ATS, D G Vanzara, "Khan confessed to having procured firearms from Abu Tallah in 2002. He has also named Ansari, Junaid, Naim and Abdul. Therefore we have booked them under UAPA."
When asked about the whereabouts of Abu Tallah, he said, "He is still absconding." Ironically, except for the last paragraph,which talks about a plan to blow up some buildings in Ahmedabad, the FIR describes the POTA case of 2003 once again.
Says defence counsel for Junaid, L R Pathan, "The new FIR is a reproduction of the old case, verdict in which is pending. There is no mention of any thing new in this case."
Defence counsel for Ansari, B M Gupta, opines that the Act, which is legally inapplicable in this case, has been invoked for ulterior motive.
"This is to further detain the minority community accused in jail, as POTA-IV, is about to be completed in a short period." Challenging the police FIR, Gupta says, "It (FIR) is based on Khan’s statements. According to Khan, he was forced to make this statement during his remand period."
"According to ATS the arms were smuggled in 2002 and since the accused were arrested in December 2003, why was there no blast in the city between this period?" questions Gupta claiming that the FIR is fabricated and baseless, as Abu Tallah is a ‘fictitious man.’