The father of the prime suspect in Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blast on Monday disputed that his son was in Bangladesh and alleged that he was in police custody and could be killed in a staged shootout.
Asserting that his son Mohammed Shahed alias Bilal was not a terrorist, Abdul Waheed dismissed his involvement in Friday's blast though he has not seen him in five years.
"My son is blamed for anything happening anywhere in the world. Immediately after the blast at Mecca Masjid, the police blamed Shahed without even preliminary investigations," Waheed, 70, told reporters who had gone to his house.
Shahed, a resident of Moosarambagh area of the city, is suspected to be the mastermind behind the bomb blast at the 17th century mosque during Friday prayers that killed 16 people, including five in police firing.
Police claim that the most wanted terrorist of Andhra Pradesh was also the mastermind behind the suicide attack on the office of the police commissioner's Task Force in Hyderabad in October 2005.
One policeman was killed in that attack, the first suicide attack in Andhra Pradesh.
The state police claim that 39-year-old Shahed operates from Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh and is an activist of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Bangladesh-based Harkat-Ul Jihad Islami (HUJI). The police have urged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to ask for an Interpol alert against him.
Shahed is also accused of hatching a conspiracy to kill Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and attack important installations including state police headquarters and the Hitec City in Hyderabad, which houses many IT companies.
Police said Shahed's name also cropped up during investigations in the bomb blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra, the blasts on Samjhauta Express and also the attack on Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
But Waheed is not ready to believe what police say about his son.
"My son is only 25-years-old and not 39 as the police is saying. He is not a terrorist. I know my son. He can't kill people and plant bombs in a mosque," said Waheed, a retired government teacher and father of six sons and three daughters.
Waheed alleged that police had been harassing the family for the last three years.
"The police claims that he visited Bidar (Karnataka) before the blast at the Task Force office. My question is why was he not arrested then," asked Waheed, whose other son Mohammed Zahid is in jail on charges of helping his brother.
He recalled that Shahed discontinued his education in Class 12 and left the house in search of a job five years ago. "We have never seen or met him after that," said Waheed, whose four other sons are employed in Saudi Arabia.
He said the family had suffered a lot during last three years because of the police branding his son a terrorist. "My other children could not get jobs because of this baseless allegation against him," he said.