Mustaque Ahmed, an accused in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, was granted bail on Thursday. Arrested in May 2006, he is one of the four persons to get bail in the case till now.
According to the Maharashtra State Anti Terrorism Squad, Mustaque allegedly helped prime accused Dr Sharif Ahmed and aided in transporting the arms. A large consignment comprising five boxes of arms and explosives was first kept at Sharif’s father’s house and later transferred to Mustaque’s brother-in-law’s electric shop in Malegaon, the ATS had said. This explosive was allegedly to be used for various blasts.
While granting Mustaque bail, the court, however, observed that “prima facie” he did not have knowledge of the alleged crime. ATS had mainly relied on two confessions — one of Sharif and another of accused Afzal Khan — claiming that Mustaque participated in the crime. Both have since retracted from the confession. Mustaque is one of the 22 accused to be arrested in the case.
For his father Mohammad Israr, 69, the news of Mustaque’s bail eight years after his arrest brings back memory of his another son Ishtiyaque Ahmed, who had suddenly gone “missing” in October 2006. Ishtiyaque, a witness in the arms haul case, is shown as an absconding accused in the Malegaon 2006 serial blasts case. Israr fears his son might have been killed. “They first arrested my son (Mustaque) on May 12, 2006, and then came looking for my other sons. Ishtiyaque would be taken to police station at odd hours and then, a couple of days later, they made him depose against his elder brother,” he told The Indian Express. “He (Ishtiyaque) was just 24, had just started helping me in my powerloom business. The police harassed him for days, made him a witness and then booked him in another blast case,” he said.
Recalling the chain of events, Israr’s eldest son Mustaqeen, who is supporting the family now, said: “Soon after the (Malegaon) blast (September 8, 2006), the police started visiting us again. They would knock at our doors at odd hours, ask random questions, intimidate men and women of the family and return. In October when they came, Ishtiyaque was not home. When he returned, we asked him to stay away for a few days. He stayed out that night, but never returned.”