Punching holes in the prosecution theory and questioning the deposition of the main witnesses, a special court in Bhopal has acquitted four SIMI activists, including Abu Faisal, who were accused of attempting to rob a bank to raise funds for the banned organisation.
The police had claimed that carrying firearms and knives, six SIMI operatives had stormed into the Punjab National Bank’s Jaora branch in Ratlam district on April 27, 2010, but they could not open the strong room as the cashier had left with one key.
The prosecution had claimed that the accused had fled after tying three persons, including deputy manager Shashikant, peon Prakash Raikwar and Balram, a farmer who was present in the bank.
The police had booked Abu Fazal Khan alias Doctor, a resident of Andheri (West), Mumbai, Mohammed Sajid alias Sheru, Mohammed Habib alias Shetty, and Mohammed Ikrar alias Shaikh Sahab, all residents of Ujjain, under various section of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the IPC and the Arms Act. Mohammed Aslam alias Saheb and Mohammed Aizazuddin alias Riyaz were reported absconding.
In his complaint, Shashikant had described two accused and said he would be able to identify them.
The police arrested the four operatives accusing them trying to spread religious awareness in Muslim-dominated areas and spewing venom against other communities. The trial was shifted to Bhopal on December 20, 2013 from Jaora on court orders.
While Balram identified the accused in the court, Shashikant and Prakash could not do so. The court said Balram’s testimony was not credible as he admitted that the identification parade was not made in jail.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.