Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

‘7/11 accused used public phone booth as command post’

188 people were killed in attacks. (Source: Express photo) 188 people were killed in attacks. (Source: Express photo)
Written by Sukanya Shantha | Mumbai | Posted: May 23, 2014 2:22 am

Almost eight years after the serial train blasts in Mumbai on July 11, 2006, which claimed 188 lives and left over 800 injured, the prosecution claims to have identified a “command post” from where calls were made and received by the accused. Relying on the Call Data Records (CDRs) submitted to the court, the prosecution claims that as many as 19 calls were made and received at a public telephone booth outside Fauziya Nursing Home on Shuklaji Street, near Nagpada, South Mumbai, during February-July 2006.

According to the prosecution, one of the accused, Dr Tanvir Ansari, the “commander” of the operation, was stationed at the PCO and communicated with at least four other accused — Asif Bashir Khan, Ehtesham Siddiqui, Zameer Shaikh and Mohammad Sajid Ansari. The five are among the 13 who have been arrested so far in the case.

The prosecution, however, has no proof to show that Dr Ansari was at the PCO, and has just relied on the fact that he started his medical practice at Fauziya Nursing Home. The PCO, which was then reportedly situated right outside the nursing home, is no longer there.

According to the CDRs:
Sajid received calls on July 6, July 10 and July 11 from the PCO. He received seven other calls between February and June, and made one call from there on July 12.
Siddiqui received two calls on April 30, one on May 10 and two on May 12 from the PCO.
Shaikh made one call from his cellphone to the PCO on February 21.
Asif received a call on July 10 and another on July 12 from the PCO.

In his final arguments before Special MCOCA Judge Y D Shinde earlier this month, special public prosecutor Raja Thakare claimed that Dr Ansari, who was working with M H Saboo Siddik Hospital at Dongri at the time of the blasts, would sneak out of the hospital and go to this PCO outside Fauziya Nursing Home to make and receive calls. The two hospitals are at least three kilometres apart.

The defence lawyers on Thursday rubbished the prosecution’s submission made earlier this month. “If the CDR was so crucial, why did they not bring it before the court record. We had to move the high court to get access to these CDRs,” said defence lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan. He claimed that Dr Ansari was working at the M H Saboo Siddik Hospital on all the days when the calls were reportedly made and received.

“His entry on the muster roll, biometric attendence and his senior colleagues’ statements show he was at work,” said Khan. On the other accused, he said the calls to Siddiqui were made by his printing press clients who lived around the area; Sajid’s relatives lived near Fauziya Nursing Home and would use the PCO to make and receive calls; Shaikh, a taxi driver, received calls from his passengers continued…

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