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Gujarat ATS lets off Modasa blast suspect after interrogation

Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad,which “picked up” a Modasa blast suspect at a village in Banka in Bihar recently...

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: January 13, 2009 2:21:31 am

Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS),which “picked up” a Modasa blast suspect at a village in Banka in Bihar recently,has let off the accused after asking him to appear before the Himmatnagar police station in Gujarat on January 13.

The Banka police,which assisted the ATS team in tracking down Allarakha alias Maulana Mustafa (35) at Shambhuganj’s Chutia-Bellari village,some 280 km from Patna,on Wednesday,is puzzled at the Gujarat team not having arrested Mustafa and taken him to Gujarat for interrogation.

Mustafa is one of the accused in the September 29 Modasa blast. He had been living in Himmantnagar near Modasa since 1999.

Banka Superintendent of Police,Jitendra Rana,said: “The profile of the man (Mustafa) we picked up matched the profile given to us by the Gujarat ATS. We cannot say why they did not take him along to Gujarat for interrogation.”

Rana said the local police had no business to question the competence of the ATS. “The team might have had something else in mind,but Mustafa was surely the person the ATS had come looking for,” he added.

Asked if the Banka police had been requested to “keep track of Mustafa’s activities back home,he said: “We have no word from the ATS team”.

Mustafa had been living at his native Chutia-Bellari village for the last three months.

He used to teach at a madarsa in Himmatnagar and visited his village in Bihar off and on.

He had come to his village on October 1,two days after the Modasa blast took place. His father,a small farmer,stays with his family in Chutia-Bellari village.

For the villagers,Mustafa passed off as one who was a teacher in Gujarat and had come to the village for a break. His grandfather was a Hindu,who converted to Islam.

Mustafa could have arranged for bike used in Modasa blast
Highly placed sources in the Gujarat ATS told Newsline that Mustafa is suspected of having arranged the Motorcycle,a Hero Honda Passion,which was used in the Modasa blast on September 29. Mustafa’s name,said sources,cropped up during ATS investigations into the case. “Two persons had claimed to have overheard the conversations about Mustafa’s role in procuring the motorcycle,” a source added.

A two-member team of the Gujarat police,headed by Assistant Superintendent of Police (Himmatnagar),Himanshu Shukla,was sent to track Mustafa,who until a week ago,was suspected to have fled.

Shukla,along with an official of the Gujarat ATS,questioned Mustafa for two days. “We didn’t get any substantial information in his interrogation and thus had no grounds to arrest him,” the source said.

Meanwhile,sources in the Gujarat ATS said that Mustafa had been teaching at Darul-Ulum-Hassania madarsa in Himmatnagar for the last several years. “Apart from teaching there,Mustafa also gave private tuitions in and around the city,” the source said.

Sources said that Mustafa had gone to his native village in the last week of September to see his ageing parents and had a train reservation from Bhagalpur to New Delhi for January 10,” an ATS officer said.

Mustafa had come to Gujarat about a decade ago. He completed his Qari course from Darul-Ulum-Hassania at Himmatnagar a few years ago and started teaching in the same madarasa after that,sources said.

“Though we have no strong evidence against Mustafa right now,he continues to be one of the suspects and may be questioned again,” the ATS officer said.

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