Charge sheet filed against seven for Hyderabad twin blasts

May 15th, 2009 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Hyderabad, May 15 (IANS) Octopus, the anti-terror unit of the Andhra Pradesh police, Friday filed a charge sheet in a court here, naming seven Indian Mujahideen operatives behind the twin blasts of Aug 25, 2007 that killed 42 people.
The charge sheet was filed against seven accused in the Nampally Criminal Court, nearly two years after the near simultaneous blasts at a public park and a popular eatery.

While four accused are in jail, three are still at large. They all are operatives of the shadowy terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).

The accused have been charged with murder, waging war against the nation and criminal conspiracy in connection with the blasts carried out at the Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat and also the unexploded bomb found under a foot-over bridge at Dilsukhnagar.

In the 1,207-page charge sheet, Octopus informed the court that it questioned 159 witnesses in connection with the three cases.

While Aniquee Shafiq Syed, Akbar Ismail Choudhary, Ansar Ahmed Sheikh and Mansoor Peerbhoy, arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police last year, are in jail, three other IM operatives are still at large.

An official of Octopus said they were on the lookout for the mastermind and IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal, his brother Iqbal Bhatkal and another operative Aamir Raza, who is believed to be in Pakistan.

Investigators say it was Riyaz Bhatkal who had sent the bombs to Hyderabad from Pune. He is also believed to have planted the bomb at Gokul Chat, a popular eatery.

Aniquee planted bomb at Lumbini Park while a third bomb planted by Akbar Ismail did not explode.

The blast at the crowded Gokul Chat killed 32 people while 10 people died at the open air theatre at Lumbini Park, near the state secretariat. Dozens of people were injured in the blasts.

The city police, which launched the investigations, had picked up as many as 97 suspects, all local youths, for questioning and 21 were jailed on suspicion of their links with the terror group Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI), which was believed to be involved in the blasts.

The case remained unsolved for more than a year until the ATS nabbed a group of seven IM operatives after in Mumbai in October 2008.

All 21 suspects arrested in the case were acquitted by a court in December last year.

The Andhra Pradesh government had to face embarrassment as a committee appointed by the state minorities commission revealed that the youths were tortured in jail. Human rights groups also criticised the state government and demanded compensation for the youths.

The anti-terror unit filed the charge sheet three days before the second anniversary of the blast at the historic Mecca Masjid here.

Nine people were killed in the blast during Friday prayers at the mosque May 18, 2007. Five more people were killed when police opened fire on a mob protesting against the blast outside the mosque.

Though the investigations in the mosque blast case were handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it failed to crack the case. Union Home minister P. Chidambaram told a news conference here in March this year that the case had turned cold as the two primary suspects in the case are dead.

During the questioning by Octopus, IM operatives revealed that they hatched a plan to trigger blasts to avenge the blast at the mosque, which they blamed on right-wing Hindu groups.

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