GUJARAT ATS, in a joint operation with UP Police, on Saturday arrested TADA accused Qadeer Ahmed from near his native place of Najibabad in Bijnor. Accused of storing arms and ammunition used in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, Ahmed (55) had been absconding for 23 years, as a court in Gujarat’s Jamnagar had issued a non-baibable warrant against him in 1995. UP Police records show that Ahmed had been accused of storing arms and ammunition supplied by Tiger Memon — one of the prime accused in the blasts case — at Jamnagar in Gujarat in 1993.
According to the Gujarat ATS, an alleged member of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s gang, Ahmed had reportedly offloaded arms and ammunition at Gosabara in Jamnagar. These arms, including RDX, AK 47 rifles, were smuggled from Pakistan and later used in the Mumbai blasts. Gujarat ATS officials said Mumbai Police had recovered some of these weapons from Ahmed’s house after the blasts.
“A team of Gujarat ATS had contacted us two days ago. Following this, a team was constituted here to collect details about Ahmed and his movement. Acting on a tip-off that Ahmed was likely to leave the district today, the team laid a trap and arrested him from near his house at Kalhari village in Najibabad,” Bijnor SP Atul Sharma said.
After questioning, the Gujarat ATS team took Ahmed into custody and produced him before a local court seeking a transit remand for him, he added. Ahmed’s family members, meanwhile, claimed his arrest was the fallout of a mistaken identity. His younger brother Mohammad Faheem said: “Ahmed had left his native villahe a long time ago. For around 12 years, he stayed in Mumbai, where he ran an embroidery business… In 1988, Ahmed closed the business and returned to Bijnor. Since then, he has been staying here with his family, including his wife, three sons and three daughters.”
“No policemen had ever come to our house looking for him. We think this may be a case of mistaken identity,” he added. In Bijnor, the relatives said Ahmed was running a garment shop at Katera Market — around 5 km from his house. His eldest son Mohammad Saud was helping him in the business.
Among his other sons, while Mohamad Ubaid works in a private firm in Aligarh, Mohammad Jaid is a graduation student. “Ahmed used to the visit local police station seeking help for locals and policemen always give him regard and considered him to be a good citizen,” said Faheem.
However, Najibabad police Station House Officer Satish Kumar said: “Ahmed had never visited the police station since I was posted here on April 25, this year.” Sources in Gujarat ATS said Ahmed was close to other accused in the Mumbai blasts case, including Salim Shaikh alias Kutta and Istiyak Ahmed Ansari — both residents of Najibabad.
While Salim is currently lodged in a Mumbai jail, Ansari was arrested by the Gujarat ATS in 2015 in the 1993 Gosabara arms landing case.