On August 22, 2006, in the wee hours of the morning, a nondescript housing colony in Antop Hill in Mumbai witnessed fierce firing.
Just about a month ago, on July 11, Mumbai’s lifeline had been hit by seven bomb blasts, and Mumbai was reeling. Several accused, including Kamal Ansari, Dr Tanveer Ansari, Mohammed Faisal Shaikh and Ehtesham Siddique, had been arrested, and from them, the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had learnt of Abu Umaid alias Abu Osama alias Mohammed Ali, a resident of Faisalabad, Pakistan, and his role in the blasts.
At 4.30 am, a team of ATS officers barged into the dilapidated housing colony, only to be greeted with a volley of bullets from an AK-47 rifle. In close combat, the ATS killed Ali.
He had fired 18 rounds, which were met with the ATS’ 72. Police sources said Ali came from Pakistan and had initially stayed in Uttar Pradesh, before moving to Antop Hill.
At around the same time, another Pakistani national, Mohammed Riyaz Nawabuddin, was arrested from Wadala. The ATS recovered 2kg of RDX, detonators, timer devices, a pistol and 50 US dollars from him.
ATS had claimed the two Pakistanis had planned subversive activities and were associated with the Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI –B). The diary of one of the two accused had international numbers, mostly of people from Bangladesh. But Riyaz was only booked under the arms act and after serving a 5-year sentence, was deported to Pakistan.
“Based on the information that two people were in the area to conduct terror activities, we tried to catch them, but one was gunned down when he opened fire on the police, said former ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi.