Stavan Desai, Indian Express,October 19, 2006
MUMBAI, OCTOBER 18 : The advocate defending most of the accused in the July 11 train blasts case has alleged that the Ravi Pujari gang has threatened to gun him down if he doesn’t back out. Shahid Azmi had filed a complaint at Kurla Police Station on Tuesday. Not having received protection till Wednesday, he filed an application in the MCOCA court.
Azmi defends Faizal Sheikh, the prime accused in the blasts case, and most of the other accused. He also defends those accused in the May 10 Aurangabad arms haul case. Azmi met The Indian Express outside the police commissioner’s office on Wednesday. He said he received the threat call from phone number 022-25449658 at 7:14 p.m. on Tuesday and was told he’d be gunned down outside court-just like two undertrials were near the courthouse in Kala Ghoda on Monday.
“The commissioner has refused to meet me and the constables on duty at the Citizen’s Facilitation Centre say that the time for accepting complaints and applications gets over at 4:30 p.m.,” he said. “I came here after finishing my work at the court. There is no senior officer here that I can meet.”
But Police Commissioner A.N. Roy said: “I don’t know this man and he has not called me. If he is under threat, then there is a procedure to be followed. If he has filed a complaint than it will be investigated and appropriate action taken.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dhananjay Kamlakar did acknowledge that Azmi had informed him of appropriate action when he’s back on Thursday.
Asked why he was being targeted, Azmi said, “I don’t think it’s only me and this is not the first threat call I have received. A month back I received a call that I’d been asked not to represent the blast accused and was still doing so and that I should not or it will not be good. On Tuesday too the caller told me that lawyers in this case and the 1993 blasts case are being targeted.”
In his police complaint, Azmi said the anonymous caller told him his movements were monitored round the clock and that he would be killed either at his Kurla residence or office, or at his lawyer’s chamber at Fort. He also said that the youth who has been asked to carry out Pujari’s orders to have him bumped off had visited his residence to confirm his address.
“After the phone call I inquired with my brother who was home and he said a youth had come asking if I lived there. Today, I was being followed through out the day,” Azmi said.