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  #1  
Old September 2nd, 2003, 08:24 PM
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Thumbs up Exclusive! How the Blasts case was solved!

I was in my office at the Crime Branch [at the Mumbai police headquarters near Crawford Market, south Mumbai] when I heard of the twin blasts [on August 25].

It was shocking. My second thought was that now, once again, the police will be severely criticized. Though we have arrested 23 people in past bomb blast cases and charge-sheeted them, people will point fingers at us. Once more it will be trying times. The investigation of previous cases and our intelligence work had all been erased by these blasts.

The first thing I did was alert all 12 units of the Crime Branch, three crime intelligence units, and one anti-extortion cell in Mumbai to talk to their informants and get some clues as to who did it, how and why? Next we alerted our local police stations to be prepared for communal riots.

Simultaneously I sent teams to both spots. One expected only a few deaths. But the control room told me in a few minutes that 38 had died. We understood that the challenge had arrived. It was going to be either us or them.

That same day, at 7.30pm, I called all the unit leaders and senior officers to my office from all over Mumbai. Since communal riots had not broken out, they could come.

Taxi driver [Shivnarayan Vasudev] Pande provided many clues to begin the investigation. We already knew that in the BEST bus blast on route number 340, the bomb was planted by a woman in a burkha and carrying a small child. Pande's description was similar to that given by the BEST bus driver.

I spoke to Pande. What he had seen we understood well. How the criminals were walking, their looks, etc. By midnight our artist had made the sketches. Strict instructions were issued not to release the sketches to the public or the press.

At the evening meeting, all our officers showed exemplary readiness to fight it out. "Hamari bhi izzat ka sawal hai [Our honour is at stake]" was the mood. We will be called useless if we don't do something. There was hardly any need to motivate them because they understood the gravity of the situation.

On day two we were looking for eyewitnesses to come forward. In Chimanpada area we were looking for the combination of four members of a family -- husband, wife, 18-year-old daughter and three-year-old daughter. We could not publicise the sketches because we did not want the family to change their get-up.

That day, on August 26, our boys came with a heap of information. Very important, but not relevant to this case. The second day almost passed without a real lead.

Pata lagao... aur pata lagao [find out more] was our demand.

On day three, my officer called me from Andheri and said they had one eyewitness who claimed to have seen a couple similar to the sketch. He knew a guy who was with this couple. The first ray of hope had emerged.

Every hour we were kept informed. My officer kept telling me, "Sir, he looks reliable."

In such circumstances people do try to settle scores by fixing their enemies. We thought it would be a fiasco if that man planted someone on us.

On the morning of August 28, at a secret hideout without revealing my identity, I personally met the informant. That was when I became confident that we were on the right track.

The man knew Arshad [Shafique Ansari] and his home. We kept watch on the place round the clock.

He also led us to Hanif and Fahmida. Our patience was tested here. When our men went to Hanif's home they found a huge crowd there. A neighbour had died. We decided to hold back and not arrest the couple. It was a risk. Woh bhag gaya to?! [What if they escaped?]

We were relieved on Sunday when we got it right.

Once more this case has highlighted the fact that the anonymity that a city like Mumbai affords people gives protection to criminals. Somebody who is least expected to be involved in crime could be a ruthless operator. We are trying to tell Mumbaikars to keep watch on their neighbourhoods. Be alert and share information. Imagine what Hanif and Fahmida's neighbours must be thinking today. A lady with whom they shared things and watched television together was a criminal who planted bombs in buses and taxis!

I would also like to tell people that there are many differences between now and the 1993 bomb blasts. Then, such people were involved who already had criminal records or an underworld connection. Most of them were uneducated. Many accused told us that "bhai ne kaha, so kiya [the boss told us, so we did it]". They did it for small amounts of money. They had no ideological commitment for their act.

Now it is not so. Our investigation of the blasts that have taken place since December 2002 has revealed that out of 23 main accused, five are engineers, three are doctors, two are graduates, one is an MBA, and the rest are all SSC pass. None, I repeat none, did it for money. Except Saquib Nachen, hardly any of them had a criminal record. Many have SIMI connections, but none had even been involved in a stabbing case.

This is frightening. We can't comment much on this. It is not our job. But the public and politicians must think and debate this.

This trend also makes intelligence gathering more difficult. Just imagine the state of mind of Fahmida, who is sitting in a taxi with a teenaged daughter and a three-year-old, and a time bomb. This shows the level of commitment and successful indoctrination. Her family was willingly getting into it and they chose Mumbai as their target. We are looking into such modules in our city. She and Hanif are mentally strong.

The public should think why a section of educated youth is getting into these activities. Even though they are educated, the thought of senseless deaths is not affecting some of them. The thought that why should I kill a poor man is not keeping them away.

We are still investigating the Gujarat angle. We can't say anything now. Investigation is a slow, long-drawn process. Today I know for certain that the Ghatkopar blast and the twin blasts were executed by this couple and Arshad and two other chaps, who are absconding. They did it because some guys in Dubai told them. I'll not reveal their names. So far the underworld connection has not come out.

But the Pakistan connection is most expected. Our regret is that we have picked up just one module of the ISI in the city. Today, terrorism has no geographical boundaries. It is planned in one city, material is supplied from some other sources, logistics is provided by a group sitting in some other country, and the act is executed elsewhere. It is so easy for a terrorist brain to reconnoitre our society, help people first with their problems, and get them in their fold.

There never was greater urgency for the entire country to come together and fight this menace. In this case the money and instructions came from Dubai, but eventually it will turn out that Pakistanis are behind it.

Additional Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria (below) spoke to Sheela Bhatt on Monday evening.


http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/02spec1.htm
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 10:36 PM
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Informative article desibaba.

These people have been brainwashed so much ... was reading an article on Fahmida & her teenage daughter.... .. .. the police asked them had they no remorse?? ... they were ready to lay down their lives for their revenge.

Pandey naseebwaala tha... bach bhi gaya.. & led the cops to the muthafukkers.


....Remember that ghatkopar blast desibaba??? .. usme ek burkhay waali aurat utri thi bus se.... .. .. woh bhi yehich landi thi...
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 10:10 AM
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chirag saaale articel padha ke nahin?? yaar wohi to mainey BOLD kiya hai..these folkz were also responsible for the ghatkopar blast!!
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 11:15 AM
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The most scary part

is the profile of these new scum bags. Outrwardly very normal and regular people but with a mind which would shame the Devil!

I can 'understand' criminals who do it for money. I can even understand a mob who does it on the spur of the moment. But what can it be that makes people do such acts on other people without a second thought? Can any conviction be so deep rooted so as to destroy innocent people?
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 11:34 AM
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Re: The most scary part

Quote:
Originally posted by echarcha
is the profile of these new scum bags. Outrwardly very normal and regular people but with a mind which would shame the Devil!
Asrat's family just can't believe it

The family of Asrat Ansari, one of the main suspects in the twin blasts in Mumbai on August 25, is shocked. They just cannot believe the police claim that he was involved in the acts of terror.

"Look at this picture [edited, with Ansari on the right]," says Mohammad Anjum Ansari. "My brother is holding our national flag on Independence Day! We were celebrating Independence Day 15 days ago. And now the police say he is involved in the twin bomb blasts! This is not true. My brother is innocent."

It is not just the immediate family that finds it hard to believe that Ansari could be a terrorist. Even neighbours and co-workers think the police have made a mistake.

Says Mohammad Azharuddin, a zari (gold embroidery) worker and Ansari's colleague, "Asrat was sitting in this very room on Monday when the blasts took place. He was here from 11am to 1pm. I think the police is mistaken."

Agrees Sheikh Mehboob, another co-worker, "On Monday, we didn't have much work and I remember Asrat was sitting here and reading the newspaper. He only left this place after 1 pm for namaaz. I cannot believe he is involved."

Junaid Nagar at Juhu Gully, a locality in the northwestern Mumbai suburb of Andheri, was unknown to many till the police said Asrat, who lived there, was a prime suspect. Residents of Juhu Gully are shocked that so many people want to know about this area and are trying to locate the Ansaris.

"I know them very well," says Budhan Khan. "Asrat is my friend of many years. He was religious and never fought with anyone in our locality. There has never been a case against him with the police. I am shocked to hear that he was involved in the blasts. I am sure the police have caught the wrong man."

The Ansari family had lodged a 'missing' complaint at the D N Nagar police station after Asrat failed to return for two days after he left home last Saturday morning. Flashing the complaint number, Anjum Ansari said, "We were all worried as he didn't come home on Saturday night. When he didn't come back till 4pm on Sunday I went and lodged a complaint at the D N Nagar police station."

Asked how they learnt about Asrat's alleged involvement in the blast, he said, "The police has not informed us yet about his involvement. It is only the media that has informed us about his arrest."

Ansari said the least the police could have done, if indeed Asrat had been booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was to inform the family. "We are respectable citizens of this country," he said, "and it was my duty to report to the police that my brother was missing. If they say he is involved in the twin blasts, they should inform us. They should tell us from where he was arrested and what crime he has committed."

Responding to the police claim that Asrat Ansari was in touch with Sayyed Mohammed Hanif, main conspirator in the blast, and his friend Naseer, who allegedly acted as a conduit, Anjum said, "We have had a telephone for the last seven years. No one with these names called for Asrat in these seven years. And he never carried a mobile phone. If these people were involved with Asrat, they would surely have called at our home number."

The police have also claimed that Asrat had gone to Surat and was there during the Gujarat riots of 2002. When he came back, he had revenge on his mind and so he got in touch with Naseer, who, along with Hanif, conducted the entire operation at Zaveri Bazaar and the Gateway of India.

At this point, Kamrunnissa, Asrat's mother, interrupted. "My son was in Surat working at a zari shop owned by Kamlesh," she said. "I'll give you his telephone number. You call and ask him how my son's behaviour was. They were nice to my son, but I told him to come back as I was concerned that the riots could spread to Surat."

Kamrunnissa continued, "The police have also said that he [Asrat] was in touch with people in Dubai. How could he be in touch with them? He has never been out of the country. They are blaming my son for no reason."


http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/03blast.htm
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File Type: jpg 03copy.jpg (9.4 KB, 50 views)
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