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Murder, sedition, robbery: Long list of charges against slain Simi men

Their lawyer says witnesses had turned hostile and the men would have proved their innocence

india Updated: Nov 06, 2016 14:15 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times
Simi,Staged gunfight,Bhopal
Police at the encounter site at the hillocks of Acharpura village after STF killed 8 SIMI activists who escaped Central Jail killing a security guard in Bhopal.(PTI Photo)

The eight Simi men who were killed in an alleged gunfight with police a few hours after their escape from Bhopal jail faced multiple cases including those of murder, sedition and robbery, police and court records reveal.

Twenty-three cases were pending in the Bhopal district court against the men who were shot dead on October 31 almost eight hours after they broke out of the high-security Bhopal Central Jail. In many cases, charges were yet to be framed.

Prime witnesses in most cases had turned hostile but before the men could prove their innocence, they were murdered in cold blood, Zeenat, lawyer for three of them, told HT.

“Even if some witnesses turn hostile, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes a single witness and evidence are proof enough for a judgment,” Superintendent of Police (Bhopal north) Arvund Saxena said.

Police’s version of the events of October 31 has come under increased scrutiny, with activists and opposition accusing the force of staging the killings.

The men, who were hardened criminals, escaped by killing a warder and attacked police too. “According to law and Constitution, this sole incident is enough for justifying the encounter,” Saxena said.

The charges against the eight members of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India vary but sedition, murder and carrying illegal arms are common to most of them, records reveal.

Read| ‘Surround, finish them all’: Cops’ alleged conversation on SIMI ‘encounter’

“They were involved in heinous crime like murder and bomb blast. Cases are pending against them in other states including Telangana and Gujarat. There is no doubt that they were hardened criminals,” Saxena said.

Zakir Hussain had the highest -- 12 cases – against his name followed by Mehboob Guddu with eight. In contrast, Abdul Majid, an Ujjain-based electrician, was named in only one case.

Majid gave himself up to the court in 2014. He didn’t escape from the jail but he was brought out and killed, Zeenat said. If he feared jail, he would not have surrendered, said Zeenat, who also represented Hussain and Guddu in the district court.

“It’s difficult to digest that after surrendering Majid would make an attempt to escape from the jail,” she said. He didn’t face serious charges -- he was booked under explosives act -- and he knew he would be out soon, she said.

Majid, according to police, was an expert at making rod bombs. An investigation into recovery of a cache of bombs from neighbouring Maharashtra in December 2013 revealed that the bombs were assembled by Majid in Ujjain.

Hussain had a long list of cases against his name -- murder, attempt to murder, forgery, dacoity, harbouring offenders, escaping from jail and resisting arrest.

Guddu was an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts that left 56 people dead. The eight cases against him also include sedition, murder, forgery and fanning enmity between different groups. He was also accused of keeping illegal arms.

Mohammad Aqeel Khilji, a resident of Khandwa which is considered Simi hotbed in Madhya Pradesh, was named in cases of attempt to murder, sedition and arms act among others.

Amjad Khan was an accused in six cases including that of murder, sedition and fraud.

Mohammad Khalid Ahmad and Mukesh Sheikh, too, faced charges of murder. They were also named in cases of attempt to murder, fraud, dacoity and carrying illegal arms.

Mohammad Saliq was accused of attempting murder and resisting arrest.

All cases will be closed once police officially informs the court of their death.

Read| MP government says no to NIA probe into Bhopal jailbreak, encounter

First Published: Nov 06, 2016 14:13 IST