IN A joint operation, Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and UP Police on Saturday arrested TADA accused Qadeer Ahmed from near his native place of Najibabad in Bijnor. Accused of storing arms and ammunition used in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, Ahmed (55) was absconding for 22 years. A court in Jamnagar, Gujarat, had issued a non-bailable warrant against him in 1995.
UP Police records show that Ahmed had been accused of storing arms and ammunition supplied by Tiger Memon — one of the prime accused in the blasts case — at Jamnagar in Gujarat in 1993. According to the Gujarat ATS, an alleged member of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s gang, Ahmed had reportedly offloaded arms and ammunition at Gosabara in Jamnagar.
Gujarat ATS officials said Mumbai Police had recovered some of these weapons from Ahmed’s house after the blasts.
“Acting on a tip-off that Ahmed was likely to leave the district today, the team arrested him from near his house at Kalhari village in Najibabad,” Bijnor SP Atul Sharma said. After questioning, the Gujarat ATS team took Ahmed into custody and produced him before a local court seeking a transit remand for him, he added.
Ahmed’s family claimed his arrest was fallout of mistaken identity. His brother Mohammad Faheem said: “Ahmed had left his village a long time ago. For around 12 years, he stayed in Mumbai, where he ran an embroidery business… In 1988, Ahmed closed the business and returned to Bijnor. Since then, he has been staying here with his family. “No policemen had ever come to our house looking for him. We think this may be a case of mistaken identity.”