On May 31, the seventh additional metropolitan sessions judge acquitted Mohd Riyaz Khan and Mohd Abdul Sayeed, who had been accused of plotting, along with five others, a conspiracy to kill policemen in Hyderabad to avenge the Mecca Masjid blast, spread terror and wage war against the state.
Last September 14, Riyaz and Sayeed had been acquitted in a similar case by the second additional metropolitan sessions judge. As the second terror case fell through, they walked free on June 1 after spending nearly seven years in jail without bail. The court observed that the prosecution had failed to establish the conspiracy or that they wanted to wage war against the state.
Eight persons had been accused in the cases of terror conspiracy and murder of two policemen. Five of them — Mohd Vikaruddin Ahmed, Mohd Amjed, and Mohd Zakir of Hyderabad; Dr Haneef Mohammed of Ahmedabad; and Izhar Khan of Lucknow —were shot dead by Telangana police in an alleged encounter on April 7, 2015, while being brought to court from Warangal prison. The eighth accused, Vinod Kumar Sahu, charged with facilitating purchase of country-made revolvers by Vikaruddin, was acquitted on September 14 along with Riyaz and Sayeed.
All eight were arrested between July and September of 2010 after two police constables were killed in separate firing incidents.
On May 17, 2009, and May 4, 2010, groups opened fire at police pickets at Falaknuma and Shalibanda respectively, killing constables K Balaswamy and V Ramesh. The probe in both cases was taken up by a special investigation team of undivided Andhra Pradesh’s Octopus Police (Organisation for Counter Terror Operations).
Police arrested Vikaruddin in July 2010, and based on his confession arrested six others for the alleged conspiracy. The chargesheet by the special investigation team stated Vikaruddin wanted to avenge the killing of Muslims in police firing during rioting following the Mecca Masjid blast of 2007. Police stated he had formed an organisation called Tahreek Galba-e-Islam whose other members were Amjed, Zakir, Haneef, Izhar, besides Riyaz and Sayeed of Hyderabad. The SIT stated that to mark the anniversaries of the Mecca blast, Vikaruddin and the others conspired to attack police pickets and kill cops, and alleged that accordingly Vikaruddin and Amjed went on a motorcycle on those two dates and opened fire. The SIT accused all seven of conspiracy, procuring arms, creating terror and waging war against the state. They were booked under sections 121,121A, 120B, 302, 307 of IPC and 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Sahu was charged with facilitating purchase of country-made revolvers by Vikaruddin.
While the trial in the conspiracy case and the two murder cases was on, Vikaruddin (A1), Amjed (A2), Zakir (A3), Haneef (A4) and Izhar (A7) were shot dead in the alleged encounter of 2015. They were being brought from Warangal prison to a Hyderabad court for hearing on their bail petition.
The alleged encounter took place days after two SIMI members, who had escaped from Khandwa jail, allegedly shot dead two cops at Suryapet in Nalgonda on April 4, 2015, before being shot dead by police.
While acquitting Riyaz (A5) and Sayeed (A6), the court said the case against A1 to A4 and A7 was abated by the court as they were dead. It observed that the prosecution could not prove or establish circumstantial evidence with regard to the conspiracy theory and the involvement of Riyaz and Sayeed.
The court also observed that Riyaz and Sayeed were not directly involved in causing the death of the policemen, and that there was no evidence to link them to waging war against the state or abetting it, said advocate Mohammed Muzaffar Ullah Khan who represented the accused.