The verdict in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case against 21 accused, including alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who was the key handler of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, is likely to be announced today.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had on May 9, 2006, seized 30kg RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles, 10 packets of 40 magazines each, 10 packets containing 2,000 cartridges, 10 magazine pouches from Mohammad Amir Shakil, who was arrested with the consignment. The ATS had been chasing a Tata Sumo on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad.
Shakil’s arrest helped the ATS unravel a larger conspiracy, in which, he confessed that the arms and ammunition was called for by Zabiuddin Ansari, according to the police. Shakil led the agency to other accused and more ammunition.
Shakil’s car was accompanied by another car driven by Ansari. Police say Ansari managed to flee and drive to Malegaon. In May 2006, he escaped to Bangladesh, from where he fled to Pakistan on a fake passport obtained with the help of LeT operatives.
The agency had, on May 13, 2006, recovered another consignment from Manmad, Nashik which included an AK 47 riffle, 200 cartridges and 50 hand grenades. Ansari’s car was recovered on May 14, 2006, and contained more arms. The ATS recovered five more AK 47 rifles, 1,000 cartridges, 20 magazines, and 13kg of RDX.
The ATS had arrested 22 accused and seized 43kg of RDX, 50 hand grenades, 16 AK-47 rifles and over 3,200 live bullets.
The trial began only in 2013, where special public prosecutor Vaibhav Baghade examined more than 100 witnesses and more than 2,000 documents to show that the arms were found in the possession of the accused.
The prosecution has also relied on the confession statement of ten accused. However, pending the trial one of the accused Shaikh Abdul Nayeem alias Nayyu had escaped from the judicial custody while he was being transported