Who were the two motorcycle-borne men who opened fire at foreign tourists outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid on September 19, 2010, in which two Taiwanese nationals were injured, and tried to explode a crude bomb in a stolen car?
The Delhi Police Special Cell claimed, on the basis of his “confession,” that Qateel Siddiqui of Darbhanga, Bihar — murdered in mysterious circumstances allegedly by two other inmates in Pune’s Yerawada Jail in June 2012 — and Pak national Mohammed Adil of Karachi, opened fire. And were helped by an eight-member backup team that included Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez and Pak national Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas.
The National Investigation Agency, however, in its supplementary chargesheet in February this year, said that Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas, who was arrested last week, were the two men who fired. NIA is silent on the alleged role of Qateel or Adil.
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Now, the alleged confessions of Indian Mujahideen operational chief Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, who was also arrested last week — as reported in The Indian Express today — have supported the NIA version and raised several questions about the Special Cell’s investigation and alleged “confessions.” For, Monu has claimed that at the time of the Jama Masjid attack, Qateel and Adil were not in Delhi,
These glaring contradictions between the different versions — Special Cell, NIA and now Monu’s alleged confession — cast doubt over the veracity of other terror cases as well.
For, the Jama Masjid firing case is directly linked to two other cases that the Special Cell claimed to have cracked after the arrest and alleged confession of Qateel Siddiqui: the busting of an alleged IM ring in Delhi and the subsequent arrest of ten other alleged IM men.
Confessions of these men, the Special Cell claimed, helped solve the Jama Masjid firing, the failed attempt to explode a car bomb, the Chinnaswamy stadium blast case in Bangalore and the German Bakery blast case.
Additional DCP, Special Cell, Sanjeev Kumar Yadav investigating officer in the Jama Masjid case, filed the chargesheet on June 8, 2012 naming Qateel and Adil. The Special Cell produced alleged confessions by Qateel and Adil providing detailed description on their movements on that fateful day. They also claimed to have recovered, from Adil, the pistols used in the firing.
The Special Cell claimed that it arrested Qateel on the night of November 21, 2011 after a tip-off that he was about to reach Anand Vihar Bus Terminal at about 11 pm from Dehradun “carrying arms, ammunition and huge amount of counterfeit Indian currency with him”. Qateel was arrested at the bus terminal.
According to the Special Cell, Qateel allegedly confessed to his role in the Jama Masjid firing. “On September 19, 2010, as per plan we both left home on a motorcycle. I was driving the motorcycle while Adil was pillion riding with me. Both us met Ahmad Siddibapa alias Imran and Irshad at the Shastri Park community centre. Imran and Irshad where in Irshad’s Zen car. Bilal alias Kamal was also there on a motorcycle with Waqas and Tabrez. Imran asked us to stay in the car and he went somewhere with Bilal. Imran and Bilal returned after two hours with a dark blue Maruti car. Then Imran took out the pressure cooker which contained the bomb from Irshad’s car and put it in the blue Maruti. Imran asked Waqas and Tabrez to sit in the blue car. Then he took out two 9 mm pistols and four loaded magazines and gave them to me (Qateel) and Adil.”
Qateel claimed, according to the Special Cell, that after “Imran, Waqas and Tabrez sat in the blue car, Adil and me got on the motorcycle… Imran attached a timer to the pressure cooker bomb kept in his car…There was a drizzle…Adil and I were wearing a grey colour barsati (rain coat)….(we) parked the motorcycle at a little distance from the car and started to wait for the foreign tourists. After a little while, foreigners started getting down from a bus. As per the plan, we both (Qateel and Adil) readied our pistols, started the motorcycle and at opportune time, started firing at the foreigners. After firing two three bullets, the magazine of Adil’s pistol fell off whereas I continuously fired at the foreigners. We saw policemen approaching towards us and we fled the spot on the motorcycle. We went straight to New Delhi railway station where we met Imran. We handed over the motorcycle and my pistol along with the magazines and rounds to Imran.”
Imran, Qateel allegedly told the Delhi Police, told him and Adil to leave Delhi following which they took a train and went to Sara Mohanpur in Bihar. It was here that they met Gayoor and Gowhar (two men who were also arrested in the same case) and told them about their Jama Masjid operation. “After two-three days, Imran along with Waqas and Tabrez reached Sara Mohanpur,” according to Qateel’s alleged confession.
The Special cell also produced the alleged confession of Adil which echoes Qateel’s ad verbatim. Ironically, Adil, a Pakistani, is quoted as using words like “videshi paryatak” for foreign tourists.
The alleged confessions of Qateel and Adil aren’t the only confessions that Special Cell produced to buttress its Jama Masjid case. It also produced the alleged confessions of the ten men arrested in the IM ring case including Mohammad Irshad Khan, Yasin Bhatkal’s father-in- law.
These men, the Special Cell claimed, were arrested allegedly at Qateel’s behest and their alleged confessions claimed the involvement of Qateel and Adil in the Jama Masjid firing case and two other related cases. Thus a question mark over the veracity of Qateel’s alleged confession challenges all the alleged confessions of the other nine men arrested — and the Special Cell’s conclusions based on these.