A LUCKNOW court on Friday began trial against five accused in the 2014 Bijnor blast case. The five have been accused of providing shelter and logistical help to six alleged SIMI operatives, who were the main accused in the case. While two of the six SIMI men were killed in a police encounter in Telangana last year, others were shot dead after jail break on Monday in Bhopal. The five accused, currently lodged at Lucknow District Jail, are Husna and her brother Nadeem, Raees and his son Abdullah and one Furqan. “The statement of the first prosecution witness, Sub-Inspector Jai Bhagwan Singh, was recorded in the court of Special Judge Neel Kuntha Sahay. This will continue on the next hearing as well,” NIA counsel Lalit Kumar Singh. The court will take up the case again on November 18.
“As per prosecution, after coming to know about the blast in a house in Bijnor through the police control room, Jai Bhagwan Singh, along with other policemen, had first reached the spot… The complainant in the case, Sub-Inspector Pramod Kumar Singh had died in a road accident a year ago,” he added. Bhagwan Singh is at present posted in Bijnor.
The investigation into the 2014 Bijnor blast was transferred from the UP Police to the NIA in April last year. The ATS had filed a chargesheet against five Bijnor locals in March last year under sections 121 A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121 which is waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 122 (Collecting arms, etc, with intention of waging war against Government of India) of the IPC and Unlawful Activities Act.
The six accused SIMI operatives — Sheikh Mehboob alias Guddu alias Malik, Amzad alias Pappu alias Daud, Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq, Mohammad Salik alias Sallu, Mohammad Aizazuddin and Mohammad Aslam — were reportedly staying on rent in two houses in City Kotwali area in Bijnor. On September 12, 2014, a blast took place in one of these rented houses owned by 80-year-old Neelo Devi. Shaikh Mehboob reportedly suffered burns on his face and hands. While all six men managed to escape, the ATS found that the blast had occurred while they were assembling a timer device. Another house taken on rent belonged to Raees, one of the five facing trial.
Following the blast, police recovered several objectionable items, including a large quantity of matchsticks, explosives, half assembled bombs, a laptop, a .32 bore pistol, three voter ID cards bearing Hindu names and two Urdu books. Neelo Devi, who died a few months later, told police that the three youths, who were staying in her house, had identified themselves as Hindus from Moradabad.