From 1972 to 1984,Syed Mohammed Hanif Abdul Rehman (46) was a catering assistant in Saudi Arabia. He lost his job,returned to Mumbai in 2000 and drove an auto. He went to Dubai the same year,worked as an electrician and met alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives. He stayed with six Pakistanis: Shafakat,Aabid,Khadil,Samiullah,Bilal and Rehan.
After he returned to Mumbai,he again became an auto driver. He lived with his wife and three children at Chimanpada,Andheri(E),but did not have many friends locally. After his arrest,he took up scriptwriting and story-writing at Arthur Road Jail. His confession was recorded on September 26,2003,but he later retracted it. It says Hanif and two Indians,Nasir Ahmed and Jahid,became friends and decided to take revenge for the Gujarat carnage after being promised logistical support by Pakistanis. Their targets were meant to be buses and trains. The confession said Nasir was the key conspirator with direct instructions from Pakistan; he was trained in assembling explosives laden with RDX. It says that on August 16,2003,the final plan was hatched to target Gateway of India and Mumbadevi Temple. Nasir,who was gunned down,allegedly said,The Gateway of India is Mumbais pride and many foreign tourists visit it daily. At Mumbadevi,lots of people of the Gujarati community assemble,so they will be taught a lesson.
Now at Byculla Jail,Fehmida Hanif Syed (46) stands 6 feet tall. She is aggressive generally but would obediently take orders from husband Hanif. The charges against her include planting bombs,on Hanifs orders,at Seepz (unexploded),bus no 340 and outside the Ghatkopar railway station. She and her children accompanied Hanif to the Gateway,apparently because no one would suspect a woman and children. In jail,she got close to convict Rubina Siraz Sayyed,alias Heroine,alleged to be the girlfriend of Chhota Shakeel. The two once roughed up Zaheera,the witness who turned hostile in the Best Bakery case.
In her confession on September 25,2003,she said,Nasir had told me to go along with my daughter as it would look as if a family had come and it would not raise suspicions.
Ashrat Ansari (32) was a zari worker at his one small unit at Juhu Galli. Third of four brothers,he dropped out of a BMC school in Class IX and joined the family business. In jail,he was very silent and reserved. Before the trial ended,he also contested the BMC elections as an independent from K-west ward,in 2007. A confession recorded on September 15,2003,which he later retracted,said that in 2002 he was in Surat when the Godhra carnage and riots took place. Then he read about political leaders instigating people in Gujarat. The confession said that after he returned to Mumbai,he met his childhood friend,now an approver,and teamed up with Nasir to hatch the conspiracy of the blast. It said Ashrat also hired men from Juhu Galli,headed towards Mumbadevi temple but left his taxi with the bomb at Zaveri Bazaar,for want of parking space outside the temple. He told the driver to wait and left.