Ruthless ATS framed me in terror case

Accused in 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case says he illegally detained for eight days before being shown as arrested, and was booked under MCOCA for no apparent reason

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Khatib (in black) at the office of Jamiat Ulema-E-Maharashtra after he was released on bail, on Thursday. (L) Co-accused Abdul Khan

Hours after Khatib Imran Akhil Ahmed walked out of Arthur Road prison on Thursday, nine years after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, the 32-year-old said he had been framed in the case.

Struggling to hold back tears, Khatib said he was tortured by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, which he described as a ruthless agency, and branded as a terrorist. A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court presided by judge A L Pansare had on Wednesday granted him bail.

"As per police records, I was shown arrested on June 7, 2006, but the fact is that I was under detention by the ATS since May 30. I have raised this issue in the court and produced evidence in the form of an email that I had sent to the ATS on their demand," said Khatib at press conference organised by the Jamiat Ulema-E-Maharashtra, an NGO which secured his bail and provides legal help to many terror accused.

Khatib, now 32, said his email to ATS had a photograph of him. "Why would anyone send his photograph to ATS? The mail clearly shows that I was under their detention and had to accede to their demands."

On May 8, 2006, an ATS team had intercepted a Tata Sumo and an Indica car on Chandwad-Manmad highway near Aurangabad and arrested three people. The cops had seized 30 kg of RDX, 10 AK-47 assault rifles and 3,200 bullets from their possession. Later, the police seized 13 kg of RDX, six AK-47s, 50 hand grenades and two swords from other suspects.

While nine people were arrested in connection with the case, eight of them, including Khatib, have been granted bail.

To further his claim of innocence, Khatib narrated a scene from the MCOCA court. "On February 12, 2015, the court was recording the statements of Amit Sinha and Amitabh Rajan, officials from the Maharashtra home department. They informed the court that the then home minister had asked them to apply MCOCA in this case, so we were booked under the stringent law," said Khatib at the Bhendi Bazar office of Jamiat.

The accused was accompanied by his father Akheel Ahmed, a retired primary teacher from Parli. "My son was such a brilliant student that I was planning to send him abroad for higher studies. The case ruined our family. It affected the marriage of my other kids. I am compelled to believe that we were targeted by the ATS since we are minorities."

Abdul Samad Shamsher Khan, another accused in the case who was present at Jamiat's office, said he too had been implicated. "The prosecution had said that Dhananjay Tayde, a deputy commissioner of police, had recorded my confession, but the DCP could not identify me in the court. In 2006, the ATS had only pointed to Tayde who was the accused and on that basis, he had brought out the confession."

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