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Why police say Batla House boys were terrorists

Police recovered photographs of the two cars used as car bombs in the July 26 Ahmedabad blast last year from the mobile phone of Atif Ameen, who was shot dead at the Batla House in Delhi, reports Tushar Srivastava.

delhi Updated: Jan 05, 2009 01:46 IST
Tushar Srivastava

The mobile phone of Atif Ameen, operations chief of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), has said it all. Ameen and another IM militant were shot dead in an encounter at Batla House with the Delhi Police’s Special Cell following the September 13 serial blasts in the Capital.

<b1>From Ameen’s mobile phone has emerged the most crucial evidence, which establishes the men shot dead and their associates subsequently arrested were no innocent men but hardcore militants belonging to the IM that carried out serial blasts across the country since 2005.

Police recovered photographs of the two cars used as car bombs in the July 26 Ahmedabad blasts last year from Ameen’s mobile.

The cars — a Wagon R and a Maruti 800 — were stacked with explosives and parked near the city’s Civil Hospital and LG Hospital. Ahmedabad was jolted by 21 blasts that killed more than 55 people. The cars exploded nearly 30 minutes after the initial blasts. The maximum number of casualties was reported from these two blasts.

“The only person who could photograph the cars — which were badly damaged after the explosions — was someone who had them before the blasts. This connects Ameen and other IM members to the blasts,” a senior investigating officer said.

Investigations later revealed that the cars were stolen from Maharashtra and driven to Gujarat with fake number plates.

Other photographs recovered from Ameen’s phone include 15 bombs kept on a white sheet in a design that reads IM. Behind it is a banner in Urdu and Gujarati that reads Indian Mujahideen, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Another picture is of a bomb in a black bag with a clock timer kept on the seat of a car.

These photographs and video clips recorded by Ameen on his phone form the most crucial evidence submitted by the police – in sealed cover – along with the chargesheet filed in a city court on December 17 and exclusively accessed by the Hindustan Times.

The Special Cell team, which cracked the case was led by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma – who was killed in the Batla House encounter. The investigation was supervised by the then joint commissioner Karnal Singh and DCP Alok Kumar.

“We have the evidence to connect the accused to the crime. We hope this silences the people who raised doubts over the encounter in which we lost our best investigator,” an officer said.

“There were two possible reasons why IM members took photographs before each blast. Some of these photographs were sent in e-mails as attachments claiming responsibility for the blasts. The second was they would mail these pictures to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba bosses in Pakistan as proof that they were ones behind the blasts,” the officer said.

IM was Lashkar’s creation and it provided it with logistical and financial support. Ameen would report to Lashkar commander Abu al-Qama based in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.