Seventeen months after five men accused of terror activities were shot dead by Telangana police for allegedly attempting to overpower guards escorting them to court for a bail hearing, three men, also accused in the same case, were acquitted by a Hyderabad court Wednesday.
Mohammed Riyaz and Mohammed Sayeed from Hyderabad and Vinod Kumar from Uttar Pradesh were acquitted in a 2011 case by the second additional metropolitan sessions judge at the Nampally court complex. Accused of being SIMI activists, they had been booked for waging war against the state, unlawful activities, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.
Five men who figured in the same case — Mohammed Viqaruddin, Mohammed Amjed, Mohammed Zakir of Hyderabad, Dr Haneef Mohammed of Ahmedabad and Izhar Khan of Lucknow — were shot dead on April 7, 2015 inside a police bus near Alair town in Nalgonda district. Telangana police claimed the men tried to snatch weapons from police guards while being taken to court from Warangal Jail.
Advocate Muzaffer Ullah Khan, who appeared on behalf of the three acquitted Wednesday, said: “We are yet to get the judgment copy but basically investigators could not produce any proof of the crimes they allegedly committed.”
Lodged at Cherlapally Jail in Hyderabad, the three men may not be released immediately since they have to undergo trial in other cases as well.
On April 7, 2015, Viqaruddin, Amjed, Zakir, Dr Haneef and Izhar, were being taken to the Nampally court complex from Warangal Jail for their bail hearing. They were being escorted to court by 17 personnel of the Armed Reserve Police.
Police claimed that Viqaruddin and Amjed said they wanted to relieve themselves, so the bus stopped near Alair on a deserted stretch of the Hyderabad-Warangal National Highway 202. According to police, once the two men returned to the bus, they snatched the weapons of two policemen and tried to open fire while the remaining three tried to overpower the other guards. Police said all five died when the guards fired in self-defence.
Days before this incident, there was another incident in which two alleged SIMI members, Mohammed Eijazuddin and Mohammed Aslam, who had escaped from Khandwa Jail in Madhya Pradesh in October 2013, shot dead Telangana policemen.
On the night of April 2-3, the duo opened fire at the Suryapet bus station in Nalgonda district, killing a constable and a home guard who were carrying out a routine check, and escaped with the constable’s weapon. Cornered by Nalgonda police the next morning, Eijazuddin and Aslam shot dead a constable and critically injured a sub-inspector.