Last week,an embarrassed Mumbai Police Crime Branch had retracted an attempt by one of its investigating officers to link the 26/11 terror attacks to the Indian Mujahideen men blamed for the Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts last year,calling it an internal error by a well-meaning officer. But it turns out that it was not the first time the officer had made the same error.
The Indian Express has learnt that a similar attempt to link the two cases was made in court on December 15 when the Crime Branch sought an extension of 60 days to file a chargesheet against the alleged Indian Mujahideen men since more investigations were needed. The court granted it.
But in the application,the police also said one of the 26/11 terrorists who was holed up in one of the hotels had demanded the release of the Indian Mujahideen men from custody in an interview to a TV channel during the three-day siege. The reason given by the Crime Branch in its remand application on January 2 was the same; both applications were drafted by Assistant Commissioner of Police Ashok Duraphe.
The wording of the relevant sections of the two applications was also identical: The terrorists who died in the recent incidents at Taj Hotel,Oberoi Hotel,Nariman House,CST,Cama Hospital and Girgaum Chowpatty,while talking to India TV channel,said that they were also Mujahideens and demanded to set free the Indian Mujahideen activists who are the same accused arrested in this case.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said the department filed corrigenda in court on January 3,removing this paragraph in both remand applications. We are awaiting the order in the application, he said,but refused to discuss how the same error happened twice.
News of the attempt to link the two groups of terror cases had left the Crime Branch red-faced last week as the authenticity of the TV interview with the 26/11 terrorist is yet to be established and ACP Duraphe had apparently filed the application without consulting his superiors.
While six of the Indian Mujahideen operatives are in Mumbais Arthur Road Jail,the rest are in the custody of the Gujarat police in connection with the Ahmedabad and Surat terror cases.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines