In what could cause a major embarrassment to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), it has now emerged that Abdul Samad Bhatkal, a suspect in the Pune German Bakery blast, was never a 'wanted' in the illegal arms seizure case in which he has been arrested.
The ATS had arrested Samad on May 25 from Mangalore airport on arrival from Dubai for allegedly supplying arms to three persons arrested from south Mumbai in August last year.
"While ATS has been claiming that Samad has been named as a wanted accused in the 2009 arms seizure case, the agency's remand pleas filed last year never included Samad's name," his lawyer Mubin Solkar said.
According to the ATS, Samad, a close aide of gangster Chhota Shakeel, had supplied arms to arrested accused Haji Imran, Afzal Shaikh and Suleiman Patel arrested on August 5, 2009 from a Mazgaon hotel.
However, the FIR registered on the day of the trio's arrest and their remand application submitted before the Mazgaon metropolitan magistrate in August last year specifically mentions that these three accused received the arms from one Arif Mirza Baig, through Chhota Shakeel.
The trio was sent to police custody on three occasions and was subsequently remanded in judicial custody. "Not once did ATS name Samad as the second wanted accused in the case.
Now almost a year later, they (ATS) pick him up and arrest him in the case," Solkar said.