Hyderabad-based cleric Maulana Mohammed Abdul Qavi, who was arrested by Ahmedabad’s Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on Sunday night from New Delhi airport, was sent in police custody till April 7 by a POTA court on Monday evening. He was wanted in the alleged 2003 Jihadi or ISI conspiracy case.
While seeking his custody, DCB officials claimed that Qavi was a link between two absconding accused – Mufti Sufiyan Patangiya and gangster Rasool Party — both wanted as masterminds in the killing of former minister of state for home Haren Pandya on March 26, 2003. The DCB claimed that they were also wanted in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blast case.
In the remand application, DCB officials have claimed that Sufiyan and Rasool had met Qavi in Hyderabad, besides Ashraf Ali, another absconding accused in this case. The “2003 jihadi conspiracy” was allegedly hatched by the terrorist groups to avenge the 2002 Godhra riots.
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In 2010, a POTA court had convicted 22 persons and acquitted 22 accused in this case. Besides, more than two dozen accused remained absconding, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Sufiyan, Rasool, among others. Qavi (58) was brought to Ahmedabad early on Monday after he was produced in a local court in Delhi. Qavi is rector of Jamia Ashraf Uloom in Hyderabad and has written several books on Islamic teachings. He is a resident of Khwajabaug in Saidabad locality of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.
Crime Branch Chief and Joint Commissioner of Police A K Sharma told this paper, “Qavi was wanted in the 2003 jihadi conspiracy that resulted in the murder of Haren Pandya, blasts in AMTS buses of Ahmedabad, tiffin blasts and firing at Jagdish Tiwari. Of the two modules (Hyderabad and Gujarat) that worked behind the recruitment of Muslim boys for terrorism and execution of conspiracy theory in Gujarat, Qavi was one of the chief accused who recruited boys on the instructions of terrorist Sharif Khan, now believed to be hiding in Pakistan.”
Qavi’s elder brother, Mufti Abdul Ghani Mazahiri, who heads Jamiatul Ulema of the Hyderabad unit, said that they were told that his brother was arrested by Gujarat Police in an old case. “After several inquiries and anxious calls, we came to know that Gujarat Police took him away. He was produced in a court today and was remanded to 14 days custody,” he said. Qavi’s nephew, Mohammed Ashraf, was arrested by Gujarat Police in 2007 in a case relating to threat to some BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi. Qavi had established the Idare Ashraf-Ul-Uloom madrasa at Saidabad 28 years ago.
He was picked up from the airport soon after his flight from Hyderabad landed in New Delhi terminal. Qavi was served a notice from the Ahmedabad Crime Branch to appear before police. However, after he turned down all summons, a team of Ahmedabad Crime Branch officers were keeping a watch on him for the last few months. After they received a tip-off that Qavi was going to Delhi to attend religious event ‘Deeni Madarais’ at the Darool Uloom Deoband in Delhi, the team picked him up from the airport.
The crime branch added that both the Gujarat and Hyderabad modules were found to be recruiting Muslim boys from Gujarat who were illegally sent to Pakistan after crossing the borders from Gujarat for training under Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohmmad training camps.
The crime branch, led by encounter policeman DG Vanzara, had come out with special investigation of terror cases in Gujarat post 2002, in 2003. Vanzara, who is now lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail for Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, had claimed that under the leadership of Mufti Sufiyan Patangia and Rasool Party, Muslim boys were recruited from madrasa and other centres in Gujarat by LeT and JeM to avenge the Godhra riots. Qavi is also alleged to have recruited boys from Hyderabad for LeT and JeM. Qavi was one of the key accused who also alleged to have pushed boys to Bangladesh for terror training camps.