The Ahmedabad Crime Branch allegedly picked up Hyderabad-based Islamic theologian Maulana Abdul Qavi from Delhi airport on Sunday for his alleged role in the ‘2003 jihadi conspiracy’ or ISI conspiracy, which was allegedly hatched by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad to avenge the 2002 Godhra riots.
Abdul Qavi (58) was brought to Ahmedabad early on Monday after he was produced in a local court in Delhi. Qavi is the rector of Jamia Ashraf Uloom in Hyderabad and has written several religious books. He is a resident of Khwajabaug in Saidabad locality of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.
He was picked up from the airport soon after his flight from Hyderabad landed in New Delhi terminal. Qavi was served a notice from the Ahmedabad Crime Branch to appear before the police, however, after he ignored all their summons, a team of Ahmedabad Crime Branch officers kept a close-watch on him in the last few months. After they received a tip off that Qavi was going to Delhi to attend a religious event called ‘Deeni Madarais’ at the Darool Uloom Deoband in Delhi, the team apprehended him.
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Crime Branch Chief, Jt Commissioner of Police AK Sharma told The Indian Express, “Qavi was wanted in the jihadi conspiracy from 2003 that has resulted in the murder of Haren Pandya, blasts in AMTS buses of Ahmedabad, tiffin box blasts and firing at Jagdish Tiwari. Of the two modules (Hyderabad and Gujarat) that worked behind the recruitment of Muslim boys for terrorism and execution of the conspiracy in Gujarat, Qavi was one of the chief accused who recruited boys on instructions of terrorist Sharif Khan who is now believed to be hiding in Pakistan”.
The crime branch added that both the Gujarat and Hyderabad modules were found to be recruiting Muslim boys from Gujarat and they were illegally sent to Pakistan after crossing the borders from Gujarat for training under Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps.
JCP Sharma added that out of the 56 accused, 42 are still absconding. He said, “Qavi was mentioned as one of the accused in the jihadi conspiracy case along with Dawood Ibrahim and Rasool. The court had issued several warrants for his arrest, however, Qavi kept evading appearing before Gujarat Police”.
The ‘ISI conspiracy case’ is an umbrella case covering five crimes, including tiffin box bombings, Pandya murder and others, as riot reprisal events planned by the ISI.
The crime branch led by encounter specialist DG Vanzara in 2003 launched a special investigation into terrorist-related cases in Gujarat post 2002, stating that the cases were a part of the ‘ISI conspiracy’ case to avenge the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat. Vanzara, who is now lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail for Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, had claimed that under the leadership of Mufti Sufiyan Patangia and Rasool Party, Muslim boys were recruited by LeT and JeM from Madrasas and other centres in Gujarat.
Qavi, who is a popular name among the youth in Hyderabad, is also alleged to have recruited boys from Hyderabad for LeT and JeM. Qavi is one of the key accused who is also alleged to have pushed boys to Bangladesh for terrorist training camps.
His elder brother, Maulana Mufti Abdul Ghani, is the president of Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Hind in Hyderabad. Sources added that a few years back, Qavi’s nephew, Maulana Mohammad Ashraf was arrested from Hyderabad for terror links, however, he was later released by the court.
Qavi is wanted under the Indian Penal Code Sections 120(B), 121, 121 (a), 122, 123 for criminal conspiracy, collecting arms and waging war against the nation. He is also wanted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2002) and Section 25, 27 and 29 of the Arms Act.
According to sources, Qavi’s phones were seized along with the phones of a few youth who were reportedly accompanying him. He was allegedly not allowed to talk to his family and was taken to Ahmedabad without intimating his family. Qavi’s brother, Mufti Abdul Ghani, sought help from Maulana Syed Mahmood Madani, General Secretary of the Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Hind in New Delhi calling his brother’s arrest ‘illegal’.
The crime branch has begun questioning the accused in their custody. The sources added that his family in Hyderabad has taken strong objection to his arrest while the crime branch received calls from several youth leaders and students from Hyderabad protesting against his arrest.