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ATS officials booked for ‘kidnapping’ witness

Trouble is brewing for the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

mumbai Updated: May 13, 2011 02:42 IST
Shailendra Mohan

Trouble is brewing for the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a first information report (FIR) against a few state ATS officers in connection with the mysterious disappearance of Dileep Patidar, who was brought to Mumbai in November 2008 for questioning in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

But, the CBI disclosed neither the names of the ATS officers under scanner nor the date when the FIR was registered.

Sources said a case of kidnapping has been registered against “ATS [officers] and other unknown persons” and a CBI team was in the city recently to question some of the officers who were associated with the investigation into the blast.

Rakesh Maria, additional director general (ATS), did not respond to phone calls and a text message from the Hindustan Times.

Inspector Rajan Ghule, in-charge of ATS’s Thane unit, who had brought Patidar to Mumbai, told the Hindustan Times that he was questioned “several days back” and the CBI had recorded his statement.

“The CBI also recorded the statements of several other ATS officers. It was normal procedure,” Ghule added.

Patidar, who was a tenant of Ramji Kalsangra, an absconding accused in the September 2008 Malegaon blast, has been missing since an ATS team picked him up from his house near Bengali Chouraha in November 18, 2008.

Six days later, his brother Ramswaroop moved a habeus corpus (produce in person) petition before the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court and alleged that Patidar was either in illegal custody of the ATS or he died of torture in custody.

Denying the charge, ATS had told the court that Patidar had come to Mumbai on his own to record his statement in connection with the case and also expressed his desire to give his statement in a Maharashtra court. The ATS had said Patidar, who was asked to bring documents to prove his identity, had left the ATS office in Mumbai on November 18, 2008.

The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh HC asked the CBI to look into the matter.

“We have registered the FIR. We don’t want to comment on the developments in the case. We will submit a status report before the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court on May 16,” said Dharini Mishra, spokeperson for CBI.