After Swami Aseemanand’s confession in 2011 put a question mark on the investigation in the 2006 Malegaon blasts, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) may find itself in a spot again, this time in the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts investigations.
That would be if Sadiq Israr Sheikh – the co-founder of banned terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen – deposes as a ‘defence’ witness in the case.
Sadiq, who had confessed to his involvement in the 7/11 serial train blasts, to various state agencies, was earlier arrested by the ATS and then discharged from the case after they could not find any evidence of his involvement.
Whether the deposition will be allowed is up to the Supreme Court, which is likely to soon pass an order on the state’s appeal against examination of deputy police commissioners who recorded statements of IM men.
The state had moved Supreme Court against a Bombay high court order, which granted the accused permission to examine IPS officers.
Top police officials requesting anonymity, said the ramifications of Sadiq deposing before the MCOCA court could be serious as it could possibly see an appeal for re-investigation into the case being moved by those currently accused.
This, specifically, because Sadiq had told investigators in Gujarat and Mumbai about his role in the 2006 serial train blasts that killed 209 persons and injured more than 700.
But, the then ATS led by additional director general KP Raghuvanshi, had taken custody of Sadiq in the case and discharged him in May 2009. They said they did not find evidence of Sadiq’s involvement in the train blasts.
On October 14, 2008 Hindustan Times had first reported that the IM had planned and executed the serial train bomb blasts.
Sadiq’s role in the 7/11 serial train blasts was ascertained during the interrogation of IM cadre Mohammed Saif by the Delhi police.
Saif had told his interrogators in Delhi that his elder brother Dr Shahnawaz was involved in the train blasts along with Sadiq, Abu Rashid Iqlak Ahmed Sheikh, Aatif Ameen and Ameen’s associate Mohammed Sajid.