A day after terror suspect Khalid Mujahid, 30, died mysteriously while being escorted to Lucknow jail following a court hearing, the Uttar Pradesh government sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident.
“The state government has written to the central government requesting a CBI investigation into Mujahid’s death. His family members have demanded a CBI probe,” RM Srivastava, principal secretary (home), said on Sunday. The government also sounded a statewide alert.
Mujahid’s uncle Mohammad Zahir Falahi lodged an FIR against 42 police officials including former DGP Vikram Singh at Barabanki police station, accusing them of involvement in his “murder”.
An alleged Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) operative, Mujahid, 30, was an accused in serial blasts that had rocked Lucknow and Faizabad courts in November 2007. He was also an accused in 2007 Gorakhpur blasts.
According to a police official, Mujahid died of “heat stroke” when he was being taken back to jail after a hearing at a Faizabad court on Saturday. He fell unconscious near Ramsanehi ghat — a town located on the Faizabad-Barabanki border, about 30 km from Lucknow — and was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
The postmortem is likely to be done in the afternoon in the presence of his family members. Barabanki superintendent of police Syed Wasim Ahmad said, “The postmortem report will give the reasons for his death.”
The special task force had arrested Mujahid, a resident of Jaunpur, and his associate Tariq Qasmi from outside the Barabanki railway station on December 20, 2007. The STF had seized 1.25 kg RDX, six detonators, three mobile phones and two SIM cards from the duo.
Mujahid’s family members, living at Mahatwana locality in Madiyahoun town of Jaunpur, termed his death a cold-blooded murder by the police. Falahi said, “He was innocent. We were fighting for his release. Fearing that they will be exposed, the investigation agency officials plotted to kill him.”
Within hours of Mujahid’s death, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had ordered a high-level inquiry.
Faizabad district judge too has ordered a judicial probe into the terror suspect’s death.
The state government had moved a petition in the Barabanki district court on May 2 for withdrawal of the terror cases against Mujahid in public interest and for the sake of communal harmony. On May 10, the court, however, had rejected the state government’s application on the ground that it was not convincing.
In its election manifesto, the Samajwadi Party had announced a review of cases against innocent Muslims lodged in jails on terror charges.
After assuming power in March 2012, the SP government had directed district magistrates to petition courts for withdrawal of cases against “innocent” youngsters charged in terror cases across the state.
UP has witnessed serial blasts in courts at Faizabad and Lucknow (2007), blasts at Gorakhpur (2007) and Varanasi (2006), and a brazen attack on a CRPF camp at Rampur in 2008.