Three of the alleged accused in the 2014 Faraskhana police station blast case were among the eight alleged terror operatives killed in an ‘encounter’ with Madhya Pradesh Police on Monday. The two other alleged accused in the case were killed in an ‘encounter’ by Telangana Police in April 2015. With all five accused dead, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is likely to close the case by filing a ‘summary report’, said officials.
The blast had taken place in the parking area of the Faraskhana police station in July 2014, when a low-intensity improvised explosive device, planted on a motorcycle, had exploded. Five persons were injured in the blast.
The police station is located close to the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple in the heart of the city.
The probe further revealed that the motorcycle, which belonged to a constable with Satara Police, had been stolen from the premises of a court in June.
In September 2014, the Maharashtra ATS’s investigation pointed towards the alleged involvement of five suspects — Aizazuddin alias Aizaz Mohammed Azizuddin, Aslam Ayub Khantwo, Zakir Hussain alias Syed Badrul Hussain, Mehboob alias Guddu Ismail Khan and Amzad Ramzan Khan.
“Some of them had fled from Khandwa jail in the infamous jailbreak case. Soon, they started to plan fresh attacks, targeting areas where the local Muslim community had suffered during the riots or otherwise… It is likely that they chose Pune as a target due to the murder of Mohsin Shaikh in June 2014, in the outskirts of the city, allegedly by some communal elements,” said a senior official involved in the probe.
While police were trying to track down these suspects, Aslam and Aizaz were killed in an ‘encounter’ with the Telangana Police.
The Telangana Police claimed that while they were conducting a routine check of vehicles, the two had fired at them. In the ensuing exchange of fire, the two suspects were killed, they said.
In February 2016, the three other suspects — Zakir, Mehboob and Amzad — were arrested from Rourkela in Odisha after coordinated efforts by local police, Telangana state police and the Intelligence Bureau. Since their arrest, they had been lodged in the Bhopal Central Jail. The Maharashtra ATS had been trying to get their custody in order to record their statement for filing the chargesheet in the case.
According to senior police officials, the MP Police managed to get an order from the state government against handing over the suspects to other agencies, before the probe was completed.
“Now that all the five suspects in the case are dead, we will produce their death certificates in court. We will also seek the opinion of the public prosecutor… the case will most likely will be closed,” said a senior officer from the Maharashtra ATS.