The eight SIMI men who were killed in an alleged gunfight with police a few hours after their escape from Bhopal jail faced multiple cases including those of murder, sedition and robbery, police and court records reveal.
Twenty-three cases were pending in the Bhopal district court against the slain SIMI men who were shot dead on October 31 almost eight hours after they broke out of the high-security Bhopal Central Jail. In many cases, charges were yet to be framed.
Prime witnesses in most cases had turned hostile but before the men could prove their innocence, they were murdered in cold blood, Zeenat, lawyer for three of them, told HT.
“Even if some witnesses turn hostile, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes a single witness and evidence are proof enough for a judgment,” Superintendent of Police (Bhopal north) Arvund Saxena said.
Police’s version of the events of October 31 has come under increased scrutiny, with activists and opposition accusing the force of staging the killings.
The men, who were hardened criminals, escaped by killing a warder and attacked police too. “According to law and Constitution, this sole incident is enough for justifying the encounter,” Saxena said.
The charges against the eight members of the banned outfit vary but sedition, murder and carrying illegal arms are common to most of them, records reveal. “They were involved in heinous crime like murder and bomb blast. Cases are pending against them in other states including Telangana and Gujarat,” Saxena said.
Zakir Hussain had the highest -- 12 cases – against his name followed by Mehboob Guddu with eight. In contrast, Abdul Majid, an Ujjain-based electrician, was named in only one case. Majid gave himself up to the court in 2014. He didn’t escape from the jail but he was brought out and killed, Zeenat said. If he feared jail, he would not have surrendered, said Zeenat, who also represented Hussain and Guddu in the district court. “It’s difficult to digest that after surrendering Majid would make an attempt to escape from the jail,” she said.
Majid, according to police, was an expert at making rod bombs. An investigation into recovery of a cache of bombs from neighbouring Maharashtra in December 2013 revealed that the bombs were assembled by Majid in Ujjain.
Hussain had a long list of cases against his name -- murder, attempt to murder, forgery, dacoity, harbouring offenders, escaping from jail and resisting arrest.
Guddu was an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts that left 56 people dead. The eight cases against him also include sedition, murder, forgery and fanning enmity between different groups. He was also accused of keeping illegal arms.
Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, a resident of Khandwa which is considered Simi hotbed in Madhya Pradesh, was named in cases of attempt to murder, sedition and arms act among others. Amjad Khan was an accused in six cases including that of murder, sedition and fraud.
Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Mukesh Sheikh, too, faced charges of murder. They were also named in cases of attempt to murder, fraud, dacoity and carrying illegal arms. Mohammad Saliq was accused of attempting murder and resisting arrest. All cases will be closed once police informs the court of their death.
Twenty-three cases were pending against the eight SIMI men in Bhopal district court alone with officials stating that the undertrials were wanted in other states too
A probe into recovery of a cache of bombs from Maharashtra in December 2013 revealed that the
explosives were assembled by Majid
Hussain had a long list of cases against his name —murder, attempt to murder— while Guddu was an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts
Mohammad Aqeel Khiljia and Amjad Khan were named in murder, attempt to murder, sedition and fraud cases
Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Mukesh Sheikh faced charges of murder and dacoity. Mohammad Saliq was accused of attempting murder and resisting arrest.