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Brother arrested for forging documents to secure release of 2002 train carnage convict

Salman Zarda's brother Ayub submitted fake solvency certificates of two guarantors to complete the process of the 21-day parole granted by the Gujarat High Court to the death-row convict.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
Updated: August 7, 2021 12:59:27 am
Burnt coach of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra. (Express archive photo)

The Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on Friday arrested two persons, including the brother of a convict of the 2002 Sabarmati train carnage, who is on a death row, for allegedly submitting fake solvency certificates to execute a high court order granting him parole in June. The investigation of the case lodged at Raopura police station by Judicial Jailor Narendra Rathod was transferred to the DCB. Two more accused are on the run, DCB said.

While the complaint filed by Rathod on August 4 had named only Salim alias Salman Zarda’s brother Ayub as an accused of allegedly submitting fake solvency certificates of two guarantors — Kanti Vasava and Iqbal Mohammad Belim — in order to complete the process of the 21-day parole granted by the High Court to Zarda on June 16, the police have now booked three more accused. These include Vasava, Belim, and one Aslam Mohammad Chuchla alias Matka. The DCB, Friday, arrested Ayub and Vasava while Belim and Matka are on the run, Deputy Commissioner of Police Jaydeepsinh Jadeja told this newspaper.

Jadeja said, “Initially, it appeared that Ayub was the only one involved in the crime but the investigation has revealed that Vasava and Belim were aware of the fact that he was forging their fake solvency certificates to secure the release of Zarda. The fourth accused, Matka, joined the conspiracy by making the forged documents. We will see if the sections of the FIR need to be revised against the accused once Matka is nabbed.”

The FIR, lodged on August 4, states that as per an order of the Gujarat High Court of June 16, Zarda was granted parole without a police escort for 21 days laying down conditions that two guarantors should provide surety of Rs 1 lakh each, in addition to Rs 1 lakh to be deposited before the jail authorities within 15 days from the date of the order.

On June 30, Ayub came to the jail to complete the process and sign the formal documents, along with the solvency certificates of Vasava and Belim for Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh each.

“When he was asked for a copy of his Aadhaar card, in order to complete the process of submitting the deposit of Rs 1 lakh ordered by the court, he told the officials that he had left his Aadhaar card at the gate of the Central Jail, where one has to deposit the mobile phones. He told the officer that he would bring it from the gate in a few minutes and left the office. When he did not return for a long time, the officials checked with the main gate and learned that he had checked out with his belongings at 12.20 pm,” Rathod has said in his complaint.

Suspecting Ayub, the jail authorities verified the solvency certificates of the guarantors and found them to be forged. Accordingly, the Raopura police station booked Ayub under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for making a false statement or declaration while being legally bound by an oath or provision of law to state the truth (191), causing circumstances or make a false entry in any book or record (192), using evidence known to be false (196), forgery (465), forgery of a valuable security (467), knowingly and fraudulently using a forged document or electronic record as a genuine document (471), and criminal conspiracy [120(B)].

Zarda, who is on death row in the case of the 2002 Sabarmati carnage of Godhra railway, has been notorious for jumping parole in the past and has also been caught for running a call centre inside the prison, charging inmates for making illegal phone calls from his mobile phones.

Zarda has a history of cases against him. In January 2020, the crime branch had busted an illegal mobile phone network running inside the prison city police, allegedly operated by Salim Zarda. The police arrested eight persons including Zarda, who allegedly used to take Rs 50 to Rs 100 from jail inmates for making calls from his mobile phones.

In November 2014, Zarda had jumped parole sought on the pretext of repairing the roof of his home in Godhra and had been on the run until February 2015. He was also booked in a truck loot case in Vapi in 2014.

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