A day after the Uttar Pradesh government requested a CBI probe into the custody death of terror accused Khalid Mujahid, Monday saw some twists and turns in the case.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said the death could have simply been a result of ill health. And while Mujahid’s family alleged his death was the result of a conspiracy, his lawyer Mohammad Shoaib, claimed the six-year-long torture in jail had led to the death.
Although 42 police and intelligence officers were booked for conspiracy on Sunday — including the team that had Mujahid’s custody — Shoaib said, “The police escort team was not involved in the death”.
Mujahid, 30, an alleged Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) operative accused of involvement in the 2007 serial blasts case, had died on Saturday while being brought back from Faizabad after a court hearing. Following an outcry by his family, NGOs and Muslim organisations, the government had ordered a probe and asked for a CBI inquiry.
Though report from the probe panel and forensic tests on Mujahid’s organs are pending, Yadav said, “Initial reports suggest poor health might have caused his death”.
At a media conference in Lucknow, meanwhile, Shoaib claimed he had met Tariq Qasmi, who was in the police van along with Mujahid.
Quoting Tariq, Shoaib said the police had started torturing them soon after the two were picked up in December 2007.
“Tariq said the special task force officers tortured them for days. For six years, they were kept in a tiny cell without sunlight and fresh air,” Shoaib said. “On several occasions, they were not provided food and water. Khalid complained of internal injury and bleeding. When his haemoglobin level fell, he was given blood transfusion at the jail hospital.”