Three persons, arrested in connection with the Mumbai train blasts, were on Friday discharged by a special court after the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) submitted that there was not enough evidence against them.
The accused included a Navi Mumbai Urdu teacher whose frequent telephonic conversations with blasts accused and 'bomber' Kamaluddin Ansari had led to the first breakthrough in the case.
The ATS step seems to be a tactical move to strengthen their case against the 12 other accused (charged under the stringent MCOCA) since one of the discharged accused, 30-year-old Taufiq Akmal Hashmi has turned a 'material witness' in the same case by recording a 'critical' statement before the court under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Hashmi is allegedly a Pakistani divisional 'commander' of the Kashmiri jehadi outfit Al Badr.
Hashmi's statement, giving details of the role of Pakistan's ISI and LeT, the alleged mastermind and the outfit's western India 'commander' Faisal Sheikh and co-accused Zameer Sheikh, "will help the prosecution and will be legally sustainable during the trial stage," confirmed lawyer and former IPS officer YP Singh.
"The ISI sponsors the mujahideens' jehad in Jammu and Kashmir, they supply them with arms and ammunitions, with money and food… they train us and launch us, that is help us to crossover into the Indian side of Kashmir, form selected points in the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir," said Akmal. When asked by the judge, Akmal clarified: "ISI stands for Inter Services Intelligence".
Hashmi continued: "In late July, I met LeT's deputy district commander Abu Tariq at Udhampur during a marriage ceremony. He told me: Humne Mumbai mein July 11 ka blasts karwaya hai (we organised the July 11 blasts in Mumbai).”