The charge sheet filed in the 13/7 serial blasts reveals that the Maharashtra ATS got a breakthrough in the case while investigating the procurement of SIM cards through fake documents.
An accused, Abdul Wahab, who was being interrogated in the SIM cards case, revealed that Indian Mujahideen (IM)’s chief operative Yasin Bhatkal, under the alias of Imran, had been interacting with 10 to 12 young Muslim boys from Darbhanga and adjoning areas in Bihar, it said. The interactions where being held under the pretext of ‘Darz’ (religious teaching) at Saifyia Madrasa in Darbhanga. Wahab had named Naquee Ahmed Sheikh, arrested in the 13/7 serial blasts case, as a regular attendee, it said.
Naquee’s arrest led to Nadeem Akhtar Sheikh, who in his confessional statement said he had helped Naquee steal two scooters that were used in the blasts at Zaveri Bazar and Opera House. Nadeem also confessed that he had received explosives and detonators from Yasin, and had passed them on to Naquee, it said. Three separate blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar on July 13, 2011 had killed 27 persons and injured 127 others.
However, the advocates of the accused raised objection to Nadeem’s confessional statement as it was produced through the investigating agency. “The confessional statement should have been sent to the court through the magistrate court, which had recorded the statement, and not from the investigating agency. We doubt that the contents of the statement would be tampered,” said Khalid Ansari, the advocate who represents Nadeem.
According to the charge sheet, the conspiracy to carry out the the blasts began in February 2011, after which Yasin Bhatkal, along with wanted accused Waqas Ibrahim Saad, Danish alias Adil alias Tabrez rented out Room No 53 on the third floor of Habib Mansion in Byculla. The bombs made of TNT, ammonium nitrate and petroleum carbon oil were assembled in the flat. Forensic evidence of materials collected from the rented house has been produced in the charge sheet. The charge sheet also names Tehsin Akhtar Sheikh, a 21-year-old resident of Darbhanga, as one of the wanted accused who was constantly in touch with Yasin Bhatkal, and had visited Mumbai prior to the blast.
Soon after the blasts, the ATS deployed 20 teams to investigate the case. Of these, four teams, each consisting of two officers and six men, scoured through a 3 to 4 km radius of each blast site collecting CCTV images and checking each house in the area.
“After a period of 29 days, where the teams worked 24 hours, the accused who planted the bombs were identified,” said Maria. The accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Passport Act, and under Prevention of Damage to Public Property.