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Malegaon: "SIMI hit mosque to start riots"

Friday 22 December 2006, by DESAI*Stavan, RAO*Menaka

Mumbai, December 21: Hours before the September 8 Malegaon serial blasts case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Maharashtra Police today filed the chargesheet in the case, claiming that its investigations were complete.

The ATS contends that the nine accused, who are allegedly active members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), had hatched and executed the conspiracy with the help of two Pakistanis in the textile town to “infuriate the entire Muslim community and trigger communal riots’’.

Thirty-one people died and 312 were injured in four blasts, of which three were inside the Hamidiya Masjid and Bara Kabrastan. The fourth was at Mushawart Chowk.

The Malegaon blasts chargesheet is clear about the motive but, unlike the July 11 Mumbai serial blasts chargesheet, it fails to establish the identities of the two Pakistanis. All that it says is that one of the Pakistanis is ??learnt to be Muzammil’’, while the other is unidentified.

Investigations have also failed to establish the identities of the two men who had bought the bicycles that were used to plant the bombs, though the ATS claims in the chargesheet that the prime conspirators and the planters have been arrested.

The chargesheet does not say how the 20 kg of RDX and other explosives used in the blasts reached Malegaon from Mumbai. It says the explosives were brought to Mumbai in the third week of July, after 7/11, by SIMI activists Mohammed Ali Sheikh and Asif Khan alias Junaid. And that they handed it over to prime accused Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah.

The chargesheet does not explain where Mohammed Ali Sheikh and Junaid got the explosives. Neither does it say why the police did not know about the involvement of Masiullah - who had been arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on August 11 - till three months after his arrest, which was almost a month before the Malegaon blasts.

According to the chargesheet, the constituents of the Malegaon bombs were the same as those used in the 7/11 blasts, but it does not say from where the detonators and parts for the electronic circuits were procured. And like the 7/11chargesheet, the Malegaon chargesheet too has been filed by the ATS without the state government sanction to prosecute the nine arrested SIMI activists for “waging a war against the Government of India, for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion’’ and under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Passport Act.

Charges have also been filed using sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), MCOCA and Explosive Substances Act.

Chargesheet not in haste: State

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government and the ATS denied that the chargesheet had been filed in haste and without proper investigation.

Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil told The Indian Express: “The case has been transferred to the CBI as the people of Malegaon wanted it. The ATS has filed a chargesheet based on its investigations.” ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi said: “There is no co-relation between the case being transferred to the CBI and our filing the chargesheet. Our probe was over.”

See online : The Indian Express

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