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Man who got police nod for rally missing

Maulana Ahmed Reza, who had applied for permission for Saturday's rally at Azad Maidan, has allegedly gone underground. According to the Azad Maidan police, Reza, the founder of a small educational trust, Madinatul Ilm foundation, had approached them in the first week of August seeking permission for a congregation.

mumbai Updated: Aug 16, 2012 00:55 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

Maulana Ahmed Reza, who had applied for permission for Saturday's rally at Azad Maidan, has allegedly gone underground. According to the Azad Maidan police, Reza, the founder of a small educational trust, Madinatul Ilm foundation, had approached them in the first week of August seeking permission for a congregation.

However, after two people were killed and 63 injured in the violence, the police believe that the Sakinaka resident feared arrest and decided to hide.

Crime branch sources said the other office bearer of the foundation, Rizwan Khan, a scrap businessman, went to the police for questioning a day after the incident.

Reza, who had also given a speech during the rally, has been served a notice, the police said. "We hope he will show up and help in the investigation," said a senior crime branch officer.

According to sources, 35-year-old Reza, who is known as Maulana in his neighbourhood, runs a seminary at the Retiwalla Compound in Kurla (West).

"He is a preacher who also teaches Arabic to children," a crime branch source said.

Reza had launched the Madinatul Ilm foundation around six months ago and fashioned it as an educational trust.

The police are now probing the purpose of the foundation. Sources claimed that it was yet to be registered.

"It is possible that Reza used his foundation as a front for obtaining permission. Given the track record of the other groups [that participated], they may have anticipated that permission might have been denied," the crime branch officer added.

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