THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to file a closure report in the 2014 Bijnor blast case involving six SIMI men following the death of all of them in police encounters. However, five of the alleged associates of these SIMI men in the blast case would face trial in court, as a chargesheet has already been filed against them. They are currently lodged in Lucknow District Jail.
Among the six SIMI men, while two — Mohammad Aizazuddin and Mohammad Aslam — had died in a police encounter in Telangana in April 2015, the rest were killed in an encounter with Madhya Pradesh Police on Monday. They were Sheikh Mehboob alias Gudoo alias Malik (25), Amjad alias Pappu alias Daud (25), Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq (32) and Mohammad Salik alias Sallu.
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NIA had taken over the investigation of the Bijnor blast case from UP’s Anti terrorist Squad (ATS) in April last year. In March last year, the ATS had filed a chargesheet against five of the alleged associates of the six SIMI men.
These five persons — from Bijnor city — were Husna, her brother Nadeem, Raees, his son Abdulla and one Furqan. They were all charged 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 the Government of India) of the IPC and Unlawful Activities Act.
The five were booked for allegedly providing shelter and logistic help to the six SIMI operatives. The ATS had also recovered around Rs 9 lakh from them. They had confessed to have received the cash from the SIMI operatives for helping them. “Last month, a local court in Lucknow had framed charges against all the five accused… Since no other accused have been found involved in the Bijnor blast case and six of the main accused have died, we have decided to file the closure report. We will submit all documentary evidence collected so far in the court,” said an NIA officer.
The six SIMI operatives were held accused for a blast that had taken place in a house where they used to stay on rent in City Kotwali area of Bijnor on September 12, 2014. The house, owned by an 80-year-old Neelo Devi, was rented to Sheikh Mehboob, who too had suffered burns on the face and hands in the blast. The ATS had found that the blast occurred while the accused were assembling a timer device. Another house in the area that was also taken on rent belonged to Raees.
After the blast, police recovered several items, including 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 after the blast, had told police that the three youths who were staying in her house had identified themselves as Hindus from Moradabad and were searching for jobs.
During investigation, police collected CCTV footage, which showed the SIMI men carrying their injured associate to a clinic. On the basis of the footages, followed by photo verification from its Madhya Pradesh counterparts, the ATS identified the six suspects as SIMI men. Except for Mohammad Salik, others were found to be on the run since they escaped from Khandwa District Jail in 2013.