The special court that sentenced five convicts to death in the 7/11 Mumbai serial blasts case on September 30 trashed the defence argument that Indian Mujahideen (IM) was behind the blasts, saying the investigating agency “fell prey to the tactics or the strategy of the terrorists”.
To rely on alleged IM operative Sadiq Israr Sheikh’s statement, the court reasoned, was not only “ridiculous and scandalous”, but also an attempt to win “at any cost”. The court reasoned that it was the defence that called him to appear and that his statements were “contradictory” and “inconsistent”.
The court further said a thorough investigation showed that he had indicated his involvement on the direction of other IM operatives — Riyaz Bhatkal and Atif — with the intention of confusing the investigating agency, and this was done as per the Al-Qaida manual.
“His (defense lawyer) submissions about the prosecution leading contradictory and inconsistent evidence is also unacceptable. Why would the prosecution do this and damage its own case?” asked Special Judge Y D Shinde in an order of 1,839 pages.
In his confessional statement, the court said, Sadiq had pointed out that when some boys came back after training in Pakistan, another IM operative named Amir Raza told him to show some work. Sadiq, Riyaz Bhatkal, Arif Badruddin Shaikh, who is another defense witness in the 7/11 case, Atif and Dr Shahnawaz, with the help of others, then executed the blasts on Raza’s directions. These were reportedly carried out at Momin Pura (Nagpur), Delhi, Sankatmochan Mandir in Varansi, in the Shramjeevi Express and the Mumbai serial blasts, between February, 2005 to September, 2008.
The statement further said Amir Raza had sent explosives and material with the help of Riyaz Bhatkal or his boys. One Arif Badar prepared a clock timer circuit. Sadiq, Arif Badar, Riyaz Bhatkal and Atif knew how to prepare a bomb and circuit. “These are the only statements that are concerned with the present blasts and it is obvious that they are vague statements,” the judge observed.
Elaborating further the court said the investigating agency, the ATS, had taken Sadiq’s custody in this case and had thoroughly questioned him. It was only when the ATS had established that Sadiq had falsely claimed about the involvement of the IM, at the behest of one Atif, the judge said, “…did they (ATS) conclude that IM was not responsible for the blasts and they applied for his discharge”.
The court said on March 12, 2009, Sadiq was produced before the then judge in this case after his arrest on February 21, 2009. The special court had observed that he (Sadiq) had admitted that he had no concern with the 7/11 bomb blasts and related matters. He had also claimed that whatever he had earlier said was a story reported under duress.