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Why ATS accused imam of terror acts

mumbai Updated: Jan 17, 2010 01:17 IST
Shailendra Mohan

The Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested Imam Maulana Ghulam Yahya Illahi Baksh based on transcripts of intercepted telephone conversations between him and convicted accused, Mohammed Ramzan Haji.

The ATS had submitted a copy of the transcripts in court. The agency had claimed that the duo used coded language to communicate.

While most of the time the imam told Haji not to come to Mumbai because things were not favourable, he later gave Haji his address and instructions on how to locate him.

In a conversation recorded on January 2, 2006, Haji and the imam discussed the former’s whereabouts. Haji told the imam he was in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and was staying close to Shyam Talkies. When the imam asked Haji how long it would take him to reach Mumbai, he said 30 hours by train.

Transcripts of conversation intercepted on January 3, 2006, revealed that the imam gave Haji the address he was supposed to visit after landing in Mumbai.

The imam told him to alight at CST and then head to Haj House. “It’s 7, Palton Road,” the imam had said, adding that Haji should look for the man who leads the prayers. “I lead the prayers,” the imam had said.

Haji did not reach Mumbai until January 5. The imam started getting restless and kept calling his contact, asking about him. On January 6, the imam also expressed fears that Haji could have been caught. “Kuch gadbad hai [something is wrong],” he had said to one of his contacts, who could not be identified.

The three Kashmiris were arrested on the same day. A week later, the imam was held.