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DRDO scientist held in terror plot set to be freed,MoD sacks him

Mirza was awarded a junior research fellowship by the DRDO on December 15,2011

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore |
March 3, 2013 1:18:58 am

On the eve of his release,the Defence ministry has terminated the services of Aijaz Ahmed Mirza,25,a junior research scientist at the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) who was arrested by the Bangalore police in an alleged terrorism plot last August. Mirza is set to be released on bail next week following the special court’s order,as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has not filed a chargesheet against him.

Mirza’s father,Abdul Rauf Mirza,57,a Railways employee,said they received the termination letter,dated February 12,a couple of weeks ago.

“We got a letter saying his services as a junior research fellow at the DRDO’s Centre for Airborne Systems was being terminated as of February 12,they have not given any particular reason. I don’t know what to do about it. My son will be released in a couple of days. I will discuss what he wants to do — whether he wants to appeal the termination or not,’’ he said.

Mirza was awarded a junior research fellowship by the DRDO on December 15,2011,after an extensive screening process that included background checks. He took up the fellowship on January 9,2012.

Mirza,who hails from Hubli in North Karnataka,shared a small house in Bangalore with his younger brother Shoaib Ahmed Mirza,23,a student of a post-graduate computer applications degree course,and four other youths from Hubli. All six youths were arrested on August 29 by the Bangalore Police for alleged terror links.

A total of 15 youths,from Bangalore,Hubli,Hyderabad and Nanded,were arrested in the alleged plot traced to Gulf-based operatives linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba,to target right wing personalities in Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

On February 20 this year,the NIA,which took over the case in November last year,named 11 of the 15 in its chargesheet. The NIA said it was dropping the names of journalist Muthi-ur-Rehman Siddiqui,26,and Yusuf Nalband,24,a commerce graduate,for want of “prosecutable evidence’’. A special NIA court on February 23 ordered the release Siddiqui and Nalband.

The NIA also did not name Mirza and a fourth accused,Syed Tanzeem,but indicated that further investigations were on against the duo and a supplementary charge sheet would report any findings against them.

But with the NIA not filing any supplementary chargesheet against Mirza and Tanzeem,the special court,on February 28,ordered Mirza’s release on bail for a bond of Rs 25,000 and sureties.

“We have arranged the bail bond and sureties. They have already taken his passport. We are hoping to have our son released by Monday,’’ said Abdul Rauf. “We have not decided on his future. Let us see how he feels when he returns,’’ he said.

Meanwhile,the private newspaper that employed journalist Muthi-ur-Rehman Siddiqui has offered him the option of a conditional return following his acquittal in the alleged terror plot.

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