Gulail’s latest investigation into sham terror probes presents a clear and compelling picture of the deliberate framing of innocent Muslims most of them very young and very poor in terror cases by the police agencies of Uttar Pradesh. In one instance an accused named Khalid Mujahid who was charged in Lucknow and Faizabad Courts Blasts, 2007 has recently died in judicial custody while being escorted between jail and courts.
Mujahid was in jail for more than six years and the material that gulail has dug out shows that the evidence of his innocence as well as that of his three co-accused was deliberately kept from the courts. In five other other cases Gulail researched the accused have been languishing in jail for seven to eight years. In one of these cases the accused named Waliullah has been given a ten-year sentence. Gulail’s investigation shows that Waliullah too was not involved in bomb blasts for which he had been charged.
Gulail is releasing internal records also known as interrogation reports of several terror suspects recorded by different anti-terror agencies of the country that narrate an entirely contradictory story of at least seven terror cases related to the state of Uttar Pradesh than that told by the UP police to the courts currently trying these cases. Shockingly, some of these interrogation reports have been prepared by the agencies like Anti-terrorism squad of the Uttar Pradesh police itself—the very same police that is behind the arrests and investigations of some of these cases. These records show that the police have built prosecution cases that are at complete variance at the evidence that exists on their internal records.
But in order to ensure that the full truth never comes to light and that the courts in Uttar Pradesh never learn the farcical nature of these terror probes, the Uttar Pradesh Police have concealed these interrogation reports by taking advantage of the fact that these are almost never in the public domain. By keeping these reports under lock and key and also by doctoring them, on occasion, the agencies are seeking to sustain cases that they full well know to be bogus.
These seven terror cases are:
(i) Sankat Mochan Mandir Blast, 7 March, 2006, Varanasi
(ii) Cantonment Railway Station Blast, 7 March, 2006, Varanasi
(iii) Triple Blasts, 22 May, 2007, Gorakhpur
(iv) Varanasi Court Blast, 23 November, 2007.
(v) Faizabad Court Blast, 23 November, 2007.
(vi) Lucknow Court Blast, 23 November, 2007.
(vii) Shramjeevi Express Blast, 28 July, 2005.
In all these above mentioned cases the UP Police have arrested and sent for trial nine members of the Muslim Community who have been in jail for anywhere between six to eight years. In the case of Shramjeevi Express Blast, three Bangladeshi nationals besides an Indian national are in jail for the last seven years.
Recently, one accused named in the Faizabad and Lucknow Court Blasts, Khalid Mujahid, a teacher by profession and who was in jail for around six years, died under mysterious circumstances in judicial custody. As stated, a majority of these accused are poor and backward.
The internal records in Gulail’s possession suggest that an entirely different set of accused than those who had been originally arrested and charge sheeted in these seven cases are believed by other terror investigation agencies to be involved in these cases. Investigation agencies like the Maharashtra ATS, Gujarat Police and UP ATS have a version of the UP terror cases, which are completely at variance with what is lead before the courts in UP.
A set of terror suspects were arrested much after the arrest of the original accused. What is extremely significant is that in the interrogation reports prepared by different agencies (including UP ATS) these terror suspects had neither suggested nor claimed of having any even remote linkage or connection with those accused who had been originally arrested for these blasts by the different arms of the UP Police.
But in the case of Lucknow and Faizabad Court Blasts and also in the Gorakhpur Triple Blast case the UP police fabricated an imaginary connection between the accused originally arrested and the terror suspects arrested many months and in some cases a few years after the arrest of original accused. Two completely conflicting narratives were thus married to retrospectively validate the old investigations. This cynical attempt to merge two conflicting narratives in order to cover-up the wrongful arrests made previously, gets exposed by this Gulail report.
In most of these seven terror cases the original accused have also been booked separately for recovery of arms and explosives. If these accused were not involved in these bomb attacks to begin with, as these internal records suggest, then serious questions also arise about the genuineness of these recoveries.
Our intent is not to establish guilt of any individual. We want to bring to notice of the courts and the people the full facts in each of these seven blast cases that were never presented by the investigating agencies before the courts. The material we are placing in public domain compellingly establishes that the evidence and revelations that militated against and debunked the prosecution theory in each of these seven terror attacks were either conveniently brushed under the carpet or altered and manipulated to validate the sham investigations done previously. This bewildering scale of manipulation betrays the absolute contempt for the due process of law, justice and truth displayed by the Uttar Pradesh police.
What also emerges is that the State of Uttar Pradesh has on different occasions and before different courts including the Allahabad High Court has cynically perpetrated gross injustice by concealing material evidence of the innocence of those accused, and instead is appearing to be bountiful by wanting to withdraw prosecution. While on one hand the state of Uttar Pradesh has been seeking to withdraw some cases against the accused originally named in Sankatmochan Blast, Varanasi, Gorakhpur Blasts and Faizabad and Lucknow Court Blasts on the grounds of public interest and communal harmony, on the other hand the material that could have established their innocence and which is in the possession of state police agencies has not been shared with the courts. Thus what is really a constitutional right of these innocent men to have their innocence established and their liberty and dignity restored is being turned into an undue State largess with an eye on political and electoral gains, thus causing much resentment all around.
The gruesome acts of terror demand equal justice and a search of full and unvarnished truth. But this unstated State policy of weaving a web of lies and half truths is not only eroding the very core of the rule of law, it is also gnawing away at the mutual trust between different communities and rupturing our society. Recently a few advocates filed a PIL before the Allahabad High Court challenging the government’s proposed move of withdrawing certain terror related cases against members of the Muslim Community. On the other hand such sham police investigations and deliberate targeting of a certain section of the citizenry by the agencies is causing alienation among the members of the minority community.
As a result neither the victims of ghastly terror attacks nor those innocent youths who have been falsely implicated are being given justice. Every time an innocent person is framed in a terror case, the real culprits do not just get away but also get emboldened. This gulail investigation exposes not just aberrations in investigations or minor breaches, but a whole stylised operation conducted with active prejudice. If unchecked, such a course will only serve to increase the terror threat that this nation faces and further endanger our internal security.
We are releasing classified interrogation reports of sic terror suspects Sadiq Israr Shaikh, Arif Badar alias Laddan, Mohd Saif, Saifur Rahman, Sarwar and Mohd. Salman—recorded by multiple anti-terror agencies between September 2008 and March, 2010. The Investigative agencies have on their record a single, integral terror plot of which the above-mentioned six arrestees have been claimed to be a part. The narrative given by these six accused is consistent with the case of different agencies in different cities outside Uttar Pradesh. According to the internal records of these multiple investigative agencies all these six accused have confessed to their involvement in the single terror conspiracy of which these seven terror strikes pertaining to state of UP (as mentioned above) were also a part. These records show that these six terror suspects have given a detailed and meticulous account of their involvement and involvement of other accomplices in these bomb attacks. Significantly the ‘confessions’ nor the investigation reports of these six suspects make any mention whatsoever of the involvement of the nine youths who were originally arrested and chargesheeted by the UP Police for these blasts. In fact the terror plot as narrated by these six terror suspects as recorded by different agencies on different dates completely debunks the prosecution case as its stands today in each of these seven terror strikes in both its material and minute details.
Sadiq Israr Shaikh son of Israr Ahmed Shaikh Permanent Address; Phoolpur Tehsil, Azamgarh, temporary address at the time of arrest: Trombay, Mumbai (arrested in September, 2008)
In July and September 2008, there were serial blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat (aborted blasts). Following some leads in these blasts, the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested one Sadiq Sheikh along with 20 other accused from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra in the month of September 2008. This was a crucial juncture in terror investigations in India. In a span of a little over one year between August 2007 and September 2008, there were terror bombings in Bangalore (seven serial blasts of July 2008), Hyderabad (Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat Blasts of August 2007), UP (Synchronized blasts at Court premises in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, November 2007), Jaipur (serial blasts of May 2008), Ahmedabad (21 serial blasts in July 2008) and Surat (Aborted attempt as eighteen Bombs malfunctioned) and Delhi (Five syncronized bomb blasts in market places of Delhi in September, 2008).
The series of bombings across India indicated a single, integral conspiracy Lumbini Park) of 2007, Ahmedabad and Surat (aborted) Blasts of 2008, Delhi Blasts of and consequently brought several investigating agencies of different states together and pooling of information. In other words the set of men arrested following the 2007 and 2008 set of bombings across the country were interrogated by Ahmedabad, Delhi, UP, Karnataka and other police teams of other states and were subsequently made common accused in all these blasts pertaining to the period of 2007-08.
Sadiq Sheikh and his alleged ‘Indian Mujahideen’ accomplices were interrogated by different police agencies on different dates. Each agency prepared detailed Interrogation Reports (IRs). Our sources in Mumbai police and state police agencies of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka who were involved in investigating ‘Indian Mujahideen’ and its alleged involvement in the 2007 and 2008 blasts provided us the Interrogation Reports of Sadiq Sheikh and others prepared by each of these agencies.
The significant aspect of these IRs for this Court is that Sadiq not only spoke about his involvement in the blasts that occurred during 2007-2008 but also the following blasts that occurred between 2003 and 2007:
1.Dashavmeghghat, Varanasi, 2004 (the bomb packed in a container reportedly failed to explode)
2. Shramjeevi Express Blast, Jaunpur, UP., 2005
3. Diwali Blasts, Delhi, 2005
4. Sankatmochan Temple and Cant Railway Station Blasts, Varanasi, 2006
5. Mumbai Train Blasts, 2006
The agencies have themselves claimed (both in court and in public) that Sadiq’s interrogation led to the arrest of over 70 terror suspects by UP ATS, Hyderabad CIC, Ahmedabad Crime Branch, Rajasthan ATS and Delhi Special Cell. The content of these reports, and ‘confessions’ etc is part of the charge-sheets filed by different agencies. But curiously Sadiq and his accomplices were charge-sheeted in only those blast cases in which the investigation was still not completed. Hyderabad Blasts (Gokul Chat and 2008 were some of the cases in which the alleged Indian Mujahideen members were charges-sheeted.
But those of Sadiq’s “revelations” that related to the blasts like Shramjeevi Express and Sankatmochan Temple were conveniently brushed under the carpet. All these agencies were equally aware that an entirely different set of persons had been put on trial for these blasts, which set of accused could only be innocent, if the later 2008 Interrogation reports were true.
Thus at least after 2008 September, all the said agencies including UP Police were privy to the nature of evidence and revelations pertaining to the Shramjeevi and the 2006 Varanasi blasts among other blast cases. They also heavily relied on these revelations in the investigations pertaining to the 2007-2008 bombings. But those revelations that talked about the blasts carried out before 2007 were ignored because those cases had already been claimed to have been solved. These documents expose the policy of pick and followed by the UP police agencies and raises a serious question about the integrity of terror investigations.
The lack of bonafides is further evident from the fact that no attempt was made to arrive at the truth or exonerate one set of obviously innocent persons. None of these agencies placed the entire relevant material before the courts trying an entirely unconnected set of men for the Shramjeevi Express Blast, Sankatmochan and Cantonment Railway Station Blasts. Why?
As per these internal records, Sadiq Shaikh along with one Atif Ameen (who was killed in Batla House Encounter) had planted the bomb at Shramjeevi Express with absolutely no connection with the four persons (three of whom are Bangladeshi nationals) who had already been arrested and chargesheeted by the Railway police. If Sadiq Shaikh is to be believed then while he and his other Indian Mujahideen accomplices kept carrying one terror strike after another between 2004 and 2008, different state police agencies kept framing unconnected and innocent persons in these blast cases.
Again we’d like to reiterate that our intent is not pass a verdict of guilt against anyone. But it is to only highlight the blatant discrepancies and contradictions in terror investigations.
Arif Badar son of Badruddin (72); Permanent Address- Village Isroli, Sarai Mir, Azamgarh, UP (arrested in September, 2008)
Like Sadiq Shaik, Arib Badar was also arrested by Mumbai Police. He was arrested on 24.09.2008. During interrogation before every agency Arif Badar confessed to his involvement in almost all the blasts done by “Indian Mujahideen” between 2004 and 2008. He was interrogated by different agencies on different dates. These internal interrogation reports show that Arif Badar was an electrician by profession and played a specialized role of preparing timers for the bombs that were then planted by his accomplices..
As per these interrogation reports Arif Badar made timers for the bombs that were planted by his accomplices in Sankatmochan, Cantonment Railway Station and busy market places in Varanasi in 2006, the bombs that were planted in the market places of Gorakhpur city in May, 2007 and Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi Courts in 2007 among many other blasts carried out in other states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat in which Arif claimed to have made timers.
Also Arif Badar is on record to have confessed to being a core member of this single, integral terror plot that was first hatched in 2003-2004 and as per which blasts were carried out between 2004 and 2008. Badar gave descriptions of all those who were involved in these blasts. But the four youths—Ubaid-ur-Rahman, Alamgur Hussain, Hilaluddin (all Banglsdeshis) and Nafequl Biswas who were chargesheeted in Shramjeevi Express Blasts, one person named Tariq Qazmi who was chargesheeted in Gorakhpur Blasts of 2007, a Muslim cleric named Waliullah who was chargesheeted for 2006 Varanasi blasts and four persons—Tariq Qazmi, Khalid Mujahid, Sajad-ur-rahman and Mohd Akhtar who have been chargesheeted for Faizabad and Lucknow Court Blasts find no mention whatsoever in his interrogation reports. Though Arif Badar claimed to have played a role in all these blasts and has also claimed to have intimate knowledge about all those who were involved along with him in these abovementioned blasts. Still the UP police nor other agencies brought all this material to the notice of the courts trying Shramjeevi, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Faizabad blasts. Pertinent to note is the fact that Arif Badar’s revelations and admissions have been incorporated in those terror cases (like Ahmedabad blasts) that occurred during 2007-2008 and in which the investigation was still open. But in cases like Varanasi, Gorakhpur and UP Court Blasts, Arif Badar’s revelations were brushed under the carpet. Why? (Courtesy: Gulail)