Manish Sahu, Jan 31, 2009
Lucknow: Alleged Indian Mujahideen activist Mohammad Saif, who was arrested in Delhi after the Batla House encounter on September 19, has disclosed that he and his dead colleague Atif Ameen were reportedly involved in Varanasi blasts in which 21 people were killed on March 7, 2006.
One blast took place at Sankatmochan Mandir and another at the Varanasi Cantt Railway Station. A third bomb, which was planted in Godaulia locality, did not explode. All bombs were made by packing explosives in pressure cookers.
Saif has reportedly confessed that he, along with Atif Ameen, planted the bomb at Godaulia. Youths from Azamgarh were involved in planting the other two bombs. There were two more men whose identity Saif did not know.
The Varanasi police brought Saif from Delhi and produced him before a local court on Friday. The court sent him in 14-day judicial remand. Since he has to be produced in a Delhi court on February 2, the Delhi Police took him away.
This is the first time the police have claimed that IM men were involved in the Varanasi blasts. The police had earlier arrested alleged Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami activist Walliullah and filed a chargesheet against him in the case. Three unidentified Bangladeshi accomplices of Waliullah were shown absconding.
Following protests by local lawyers, the case was transferred from Varanasi to Ghaziabad. Waliullah’s lawyer Iliyas Chowdhary said, “The case is presently on trial. There is no direct evidence against Waliullah.” However, Waliullah has been convicted under the Unlawful Activities Act and sentenced to 10-year imprisonment.
Investigating officer Ashutosh Mishra said they had sent a police team to Delhi for questioning Saif. “He confessed that he had planted the bomb at Godaulia along with Atif Ameen who was killed in the Batla House encounter in Delhi.”
Mishra said Saif disclosed that Atif, who knew how to fit and set timers, had made the bomb at home with a white powder. He did not know who made the other two bombs and where. Also, only Atif knew from where the explosives and other material came and at whose asking the bombs were made and planted.
While the bomb at Sankatmochan Mandir was planted by Mirza Shadab Beg, Asadullah Akhtar alias Asadullah Khan and an unidentified man, the one at the railway station was planted by Ariz Khan alias Junaid and an unidentified man, Saif told the police. Except the two unidentified men, all were from Azamgarh and are absconding.