GJR’s 210 crore under CBI scanner

The noose around the neck of mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy appears to be getting tighter with the Central Bureau of Investigation deciding now to probe the foreign funds that the man has parked abroad in tax havens.
The CBI will form a special team to visit both Virgin Islands and Mauritius to find out about the money that Reddy has parked over there. At the moment the CBI has some evidence regarding the money and his interrogation has also revealed a couple of details regarding the same.
As per the investigation the amount that the Reddy brothers are alleged to have stashed away abroad is around Rs 210 crore. It is said that a private company by the name Man-Go Pub Pte Ltd was registered in the year 2004 at Singapore with an intention of providing entertainment, food and beverages. The nature of this company then changed and it started to deal with whole sale trade which involved imports and exports.Janardhan Reddy who was the director of this company transferred one share of this company in favour of GJR holdings which had its address at the Isle of Man which is a tax haven. The share was then transferred in the favour of Interlink Services Group Limited, British Virgin Islands in June 2009. which is also a tax haven. There were many cases in which under-invoicing were found and a lot of such transactions never came to the notice of the Union Government. During the probe it was found that an amount approximately Rs 210 crore which ought to have been the profit of the Union Government was parked away in these tax havens.
The CBI believes that apart from the British Virgin Islands, there were a couple of transactions that were made which involved Mauritus which again is a tax haven. Mauritius has been used as a money laundering spot by several politicians from both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In fact a couple of days before the Karnataka Lokayukta could give his report on illegal mining, there was a report as to how some politicians from Karnataka had parked money in Mauritius. The CBI however would look into the specifics in respect to the illegal mining case and the probe would be entirely focused on Janardhan Reddy and his transactions abroad.

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In terror cases, Muslims are the easy target

The past couple of weeks have seen a lot happen in the investigation front of terrorism related cases. The Delhi police picked up several youth while claiming to bust the Bihar module of the Indian Mujahideen while on the other hand, the Maharashtra ATS continued to get it wrong by picking up the wrong men.

Muslims today have started to believe that they are unnecessarily becoming the easy targets in cases pertaining to terrorism. Kashif-ul-Huda, the executive editor of TwoCircles.net who is based out of Cambridge,United States of Americasays that thanks to media pressure and public demands to act after terror incidents, they find it easy to arrest few Muslim youths. In this interview with rediff.com, he also goes on to say that we have seen no evidence to confirm or deny the existence of Indian Mujahideen.

How safe do you think Muslims are today inIndia?

Indiain general has an increasing problem of unequal access to opportunities, resources and justice, and a culture of impunity especially for poor and for those who lack political power. Security of life, property, and dignity is a big concern for Muslims inIndia. In addition to the threat from the communal forces, the perception is increasing that law enforcement agencies are targeting and harassing Muslims in the name of terrorism. Slow judicial process where it takes years and decades to prove one’s innocence which in effects has an impact of denial of justice also adds to this feeling of insecurity among Muslims.

Do you feel that there is a deliberate attempt being made to target Muslim youth under the guise of fighting terrorism?

Muslims, without a strong political base or influence in the executives, are the easy target for law enforcement agencies. Indian police have a long history of harassment of the marginalized and the powerless, so this is nothing new for them. Thanks to the media pressure and public demands to act after terror incidents, they find it easy to arrest few Muslim youths and declare that the case has been solved while the real terrorists go unidentified.

Do you feel SIMI and Indian Mujahideen are fictions of one’s imagination?

SIMI was a real organization that existed till 2001 when it was banned for the first time. It is very difficult to find evidence that their members became terrorists as soon as it was banned, and even a decade after the ban law enforcement agencies continue to scare the country about the threat that SIMI poses but have failed to win any terrorism conviction against any SIMI member. If SIMI continues to function even though they are under close scrutiny for so many years then that is a big failure of law enforcement agencies. We have seen no evidence to confirm or deny the existence of Indian Mujahideen organization.

Who do you think is really carrying out blasts inIndia?

This question should be asked to the ATS which claim to arrest “masterminds” after every terror act. Those who are carrying out these blasts are enemies of not onlyIndiabut also of the humanity. Had ATS investigated the leads instead of framing innocents we would have better clues about the identity of these terrorists. Had ATS not wasted its time and resources in rounding up innocent Muslims we would have uncovered the forces trying to destroyIndia.

What are your views on the Batla house encounter?

Batla House is not an academic topic that one can have opinion about it. It was an incident that resulted in the death of three Indians and proper investigation should be done to find out how three lives were lost that day. By not ordering an investigation, government is giving the perception that it has something to hide.

If there are arrests of innocents and incidents such as Batla, how does the Muslim community deal with it? Are there a few who try and hit back in form of terrorism against the state?

Muslims as a community always stood on the right side of the law. They have taken the help of RTI, courts, democratic protests, and elections – all constitutional tools – to demand that justice be done. They have waited patiently for years for their loved ones to be acquitted by courts. On the other hand, police and ATS have used unconstitutional methods like illegal detentions, torture, false cases to ruin lives and careers of many Muslim youth. This shows that the community that sacrificed so much for the freedom ofIndiacontinues to believe in the idea and institutions ofIndiaeven though the state and its agencies continue to fail them.

Your portal has been very vocal about the mis-doings of the IB and the police? I am sure the calls are tapped and the threat perception very high. How do you deal with this?

We at TwoCircles.net highlight illegal methods of law enforcement agencies and getting stories of the victim families out. If IB is tapping our calls then this is another illegal act that they are involved in. If they do not waste their time and resources in illegal tapping may be then they can catch real terrorists.

109 criminals in 1st phase UP polls

Uttar Pradesh will go to elections in the first phase with 109 candidates with a criminal record. The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch (UPEW) has analyzed affidavits of 284 candidates out of 867 candidates who are contesting the 1stPhase of Uttar Pradesh 2012 Assembly Elections.
Out of these 284 candidates analyzed in the 1st phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections,109 candidates or 38 % declared criminal cases against them. In 2007 assembly elections for the whole of Uttar Pradesh, 28% candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves.
Amongst major parties, every party has given tickets to candidates who have declared criminal cases. SP has 28 out of 55 (51 %), BSP has 24 out of 55 (44 %), BJP has 24 out of 55 (44 %), INC has 15 out of 54 (28 %), Peace Party has 12 out of 42 (29 %), JD(U) has 5 out of 20 (25 %), RLD has 1 out of 1 (100 %) candidates with declared criminal cases.
Out of these 109 candidates with declared criminal cases, 46 (16 %) have declared serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. BJP has 12 , BSP has 11 , SP has 11 , Peace Party has 6 , INC has 5 , JD(U) has 1 such candidates. A total of 144 candidates out of 284 analyzed for the 1st Phase i.e. 51% are crorepatis. In 2007, there were 22% crorepati candidates.
6 Candidates have declared assets less than 1 lakh.
A total of 10 candidates out of 284 analyzed declared liabilities of 80 Lakhs and above.
Among major parties, the average asset per candidate for SP is 1.74 Crores , For BSP is 3.83 Crores, For BJP is 1.56 Crores , For INC is 1.34 Crores , For Peace Party is 1.01 Crores and For JD(U) is 32.09 Lakhs.
163 out of 284 candidates analyzed i.e. 57% are graduates or with higher educational qualifications.
Out of 867 candidates analyzed for 1st phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2012, only 65(7%) candidates are women; the number of women candidates for BSP is 5(9%) out of 55, for BJP it is 6(11%) out of 55, INC it is 4(7%) out of 54 and SP it is 4(7%) out of 55.
The data on the increase in assets of 44 MLAs who are found to be re-contesting in the 1st phase of elections are as follows.
Number of re-contesting MLAs analyzed for 1st phase of UP Assembly Elections 2012– 44.
The average assets of these MLAs as declared in 2007 is Rs 1, 43, 43,023 (1.43 Crore).
The average assets of these MLAs as declared in 2012 is, Rs 3, 08, 80,671 (3.08 crore).
Average asset growth for these re-contesting MLAs is Rs 1, 65, 37,647 (1.65 Crore).
Average percentage growth in assets for these MLA is 115%.
Ranjana Bajpai (BSP) has the highest annual income at Rs. 91.51 Lakhs followed by Vinay Shankar (BSP) at Rs. 78.22 Lakhs, Jitendra Singh (Peace Party) at Rs. 58.61 Lakhs and Awadesh Kumar Singh(SP) at Rs. 50.30 Lakhs as per their last filed Income Tax Returns.
A total of 96 candidates (34%) out of the 284 candidates analyzed by the Uttar Pradesh Election Watch have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.
Out of the 96 candidates analyzed who have never filed income tax returns, BSP has 9 (16%) out of 55 candidates, BJP has 16 (29%) out of 55 candidates, SP has 19 (35%) out of 55 candidates and INC has 21 (39%) out of 54 candidates, Peace Party has 17(40%) out of 42 candidates and JD (U) has 13(65%) out of 20 candidates who have not filed IT Returns.
Top 3 candidates with maximum assets but who have never filed IT returns are Farid Mahfuz Kidwai of SP contesting from Kursi with total assets of Rs. 3.52 crores, followed by Gauri Sankar of INC from Mahadewa with assets of Rs. 2.88 crores and Ram Sajivan of BJP from Ram Nagar with Rs. 2.57 crores respectively.
40(14%) candidates have not declared their PAN details of which 10 are from SP, 9 from BJP, 7 from JD (U), 6 from Peace Party, 4 from INC and 3 are from BSP.
Top three candidates with maximum assets but not declared their PAN card details are Indrani Devi of SP contesting from Bhinga constituency with total assets of Rs 1.97 crores, followed by Jata Shankar of BJPcontesting from Nanpara with total assets of Rs 1.63 Crores followed by Subhash Tripathi of BJP contesting from Payagpurwith Rs. 1.60 Crores

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SC stays Lokayukta’s probe against SM Krishna‎

The Supreme Court has stayed the probe conducted byt the Lokayukta in connection with the illegal mining case. the external affairs minister had challenged the order of the Karnataka High Court which had permitted the lokayukta police to conduct a probe against Krishna who is alleged to have shown favour during his stint as CM which led to illegal mining in the state.
The Bench comrpsising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra observed that the FIR was premature as a further report is still pending.

Cong vs Jagan, Naidu bears the brunt

In the battle between the Congress and Jagan Mohan Reddy, it appears that Chandrababu Naidu is going to get hit the most. The Central Bureau of Investigation continues to carry out arrests of Jagan’s aides and build a water tight case against him, but in the camp of the YSR Congress leader, there is absolutely no move to counter the CBI investigation.

Jagan has made it clear to his legal team that the approach against the CBI would be that of counter attack and not of self defence. Although there are enough indications that the CBI is slowly but surely building up a case so strong so that they could arrest him, Jagan has not preferred to seek anticipatory bail.

Jagan Mohan Reddy says that he is being targeted only because the agency is being directed by the Congress. There is no point in going to the court and seeking any relief at this point in time since we have nothing to be scared of as we are clean is what the camp has to say.

Instead Jagan and his followers have decided to up the ante against Chandrababu Naidu who is also facing corruption charges. A petition has been filed by Jagan’s mother in the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking a directive for a CBI probe. There are a series of allegations that have been made in that petition. However the Jagan camp believes that the Congress is intentionally going slow against Naidu since the two have ganged up to finish him in the state which he believes he can take in the next elections.

The counter move to the CBI heat would be to step up the heat against Naidu. Jagan plans a series of more petitions both before the Andhra Pradesh High Court and also the Supreme Court seeking directives and orders on the allegation that no real action is being taken against Naidu despite there being a crystal clear case of corruption against him. The days to come would see a political battle on the legal turf and it is clear that Naidu would have to bear the heat of the fight between the Congress and Jagan.

However Jagan’s worries are far from over and he is being bogged very systematically each times he decides to up the ante against the Congress. He knows that any wrong or aggressive move on his part against the Congress would spell doom for him as the CBI believes that it has a very strong case against him. He is also aware that it would be curtains for his political outfit if he goes behind bars. However this is not a fact that he would admit openly but goes on to say that he does not fear arrest and even if he were to be put behind bars, he would come out strongly. The Congress on the other hand is treading cautiously as they do realise that acting against him in haste would mean he would come back with a load of sympathy which would have their affects on their political ambitions in the state.

CBI sources however maintain that this is not about any political vendetta and they are approaching this entire case in a very systematic manner. We have been getting details about the various dealings. First was the arrest of Vijay Sai Reddy, a key member of the Jagan empire. However the CBI believes that Sai Reddy has not been truthful about various issues and hence has sought a narco analysis test on him.

A couple of days back they picked up another trusted aide N Sunil Reddy in connection with the Emaar Scam. The arrest of Sai Reddy was a shake up for Jagan, but Sunil Reddy’s arrest has furthered their worries which has prompted him to go all out against his political rivals.

Sunil Reddy’s arrest has been causing sleepless nights for Jagan. Not only does he know everything about Jagan’s dealings, but the two are distantly related as well. Unlike Vijay Sai Reddy, Sunil Reddy is not only in the know of Jagan’s business dealings but is also directly connected with his political outfit as well. The worry would be the information that he may spill out regarding the funding of the party.

It now becomes clear that the CBI is not only looking at the business dealings of Jagan, but is attempting to get to the root and find out how exactly is the political outfit Y S R Congress party being financed.

Will Sameer spill the beans on JIAM?

More involvement of the Oman-Kerala and Karnataka links into terrorism have surfaced with a new catch in the custody of the Bangalore police. The Bangalore police have brought down a suspect by the name Sameer who hails from Kannur for interrogation in connection with the Bangalore serial blasts. However what would be most important is the details he is likely to provide regarding the Jamat-i-yyathul Ansarul Muslimeen.

When the Bangalore police commenced their investigations into the serial blasts of Bangalore, the first of the links that they picked up was that connecting Kerala. The police were certain that the entire operation was masterminded through the Kerala module which was in contact with another module in Oman.

Although it is early days, the police in Bangalore maintain that Sameer was the financer for the blasts. He is said to have coordinated the transfer of funds between Kerala and Oman and it is also alleged that a part of the funds were routed through Faisalbad in Pakistan. He happens to be the 24th accused in the case and his details came out during the interrogation of T Nasir.

However the more important thing that the police have found is that Sameer had put up a front by the name Jamat-i-yyathul Ansarul Muslimeen through which he carried out his activities. The JIAM is said to be a cover front for the Indian Mujahideen and is mostly active in Kerala. It was set up by Sameer through which various operations including the Bangalore serial blasts were planned. While at first the members from Kerala operated under the IM, later on they decided to float the JIAM as they believed that a new outfit would keep them unnoticed for a considerable amount of time and they could buy the same to carry out subversive activities.

The JIAM has been found to be active mostly in Kerala and is linked directly to the modules in Oman in particular. The front headquartered in Kannur basically involves itself in facilitating transfer of ill gotten money through hawala, apart from taking part in recruitments and also terrorist activities. They have intentionally kept their operations down South and would continue to focus on activities in this part of the country. The Intelligence Bureau however says that the operatives are in one way or the other linked with some key operatives of the IM, the likes of Riyaz Bhatkal and during the initial part of the operation interacted heavily with the IM.

T Nasir was infact the first one to mention the existence of the JIAM as he too belonged to that outfit. He also speaks about how he had coordinated with Riyaz Bhatkal to carry out the Bangalore serial blasts and the two had met at a railway station in Kannur for the first time to discuss the same. However only a part of the operations of the JIAM are actually known and the police hope that the interrogation of Sameer will spill out more details regarding this outfit.

The cracking of the JIAM code would be a major relief for the whole of South India as the outfit members have repeatedly spoken only of targeting places in this part of the country. The JIAM has very important names in it and very recently a list was prepared in which several names from this outfit figured. Mohammed Hussain Farhan, Maulana Sultan Shah, Azam, Jasim, Samir Salim Khan, Wasim, KP Sabir, Mohammed Azhar, Yusuf Shafiq, Raisal PA, Mohammed Shabir. The members mentioned in this list played a very crucial role in setting up the JIAM and it is believed that they are trying to spread over into other parts of Southern India while maintaining Kerala as their primary base.

The goof-up that was Yasin Bhatkal

Zarar Ahmed Siddibaba alias Yasin Bhatkal. Photo courtesy: CBI website

The name on every investigator’s lips is that of Yasin Bhatkal. Over the past few days there have been reports of how a goof up by the Maharashtra ATS had helped this fugitive Indian Mujahideen commander slip off. What ever the case may be, Yasin is the man that the police want and want real bad today.

A behind the scene operative, Yasin Bhatkal is today on the watch list of the Interpol with a red corner alert issued against him. On the wanted list he is referred to as Zarar Ahmed Siddibaba. The police and the intelligence bureau however say that investigations have revealed that this man himself is the much wanted Yasin Bhatkal. According to his look out notice, Siddibaba is 28 years of age and was born on January 15 1983. He hails from the Bhatkal district of Karnataka and speaks English, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada. He is 1.73 meters tall, sports a beard and is wanted in cases pertaining to terrorism, crimes involving the use of weapons, explosives.

In his home town of Bhatkal there are various versions regarding this man. First of all they do not know him by the name Yasin and feel that the man that the police are referring to is Zarar Ahmed. They say that he has not been seen in Bhatkal for several years  now and he had left to Dubai to join his father in his garment business. However there was a falling out between the two and that was the last the father saw of him. There is one version which says he died fighting in Afghanistan while the others say he may have gone astray and actually joined the Indian Mujahideen.

Yasin Bhatkal could possibly be one of the smartest operatives being chased by the police. Today he goes by the alias Sharukh Khan, the same alias which has been used by both Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. However those who have dealt with him and have been questioned by the police say that he was more popularly known as Dr Imran to all of them.

Investigators feel that the falling out between the father and son in Dubai was largely due to the extremist views this person had. He is said to have come in contact with some persons while in Dubai which encouraged him to take up this path. However these are versions that the people of his home town have to say and the police are still verifying this as they believe it could be yet another ploy to divert them from who the real man is.

During his first stint in the IM, he was referred to as Ahmed by his friends. Later on he started to use the alias Yasin Bhatkal and this was the time many believed that he was closely related to both Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.

However between 2008 and 2011, the re-grouping year of the IM, he chose the alias Dr Imran and operated mostly out of Bihar. The likes of Jamali and Gafoor who are being interrogated by the Delhi police are said to have confirmed this fact. During their interrogation they are said to have said that they were in contact with a certain Dr Imran and on being shown the photograph of Yasin Bhatkal, they have confirmed this fact.

Gayur Ahmed Jamali who hails from Bihar says that he was introduced to Dr Imran two years back. He was introduced to him as Dr Imran, an ayurvedic doctor. Although Jamali had gone to meet Dr Imran in connection with an ailment, during the sessions there was more preaching about extremism which convinced him to join the force.

During the various meetings they became good friends and one day they decided to target the Jhaveri Bazar and Kabootar Khana. In this connection they hired an apartment in Byculla and decided to carry out the operation from there. Here they hired two men Waqas and Tabrez and held meetings at a near by gym.

Maha ATS wrong again- The case of Yasin Bhatkal is quite a strange one. He has come very close to being nabbed, but has always managed to give the slip. At first he managed to fox the agencies with the various aliases that he went by and today it was the sheer lack of coordination and hurrying by the ATS which has ensured that he is on the run once again. Although the Maharashtra ATS has been claiming that it has cracked the case, the fact of the matter is that the case is far from over. For starters they have the wrong man in their custody. Naquee Ahmed Sheikh is probably one of the biggest embarrassments. He was the man who could have led the police up to Yasin and to a large extent he did that too. In fact he had also helped the Delhi police and the IB get very close to Waqas and Tabrez, the two bombers in the 13/7 attack. In fact it was Naquee who had tipped off the Delhi police and also the IB about how Yasin was returning to meet his Byculla landlady to get a refund of his deposit. However before Yasin could land up there the Maharashtra ATS picked up the landlady which tipped all the three wanted men in this attack.

Today the IB says that Yasin is very much in the country and there is little chance that he could have fled India. However he would be making attempts to get out of the country and the hunt is on, for the man the police today is India’s most wanted.

The crorepatis in Punjab

Sukbhir Singh Badal (SAD) has the highest annual income at Rs 4.58 crores. He is followed by Parkash Singh Badal (SAD) at 2.00 crores.

The list of candidates analysed by the Punjab Election Watch for the forthcoming assembly elections also shows that a total of 92 candidates (23%) out of 408 candidates analyzed by the Punjab Election Watch for Punjab Assembly Elections have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.

While Sukbhir Singh Badal is the richest, Rana Gurjit Singh (INC) at 1.59

crores, Kewal Singh Dhillon (INC) at 1.53 crores and Deep Malhotra (SAD) at 1.10 crores as per their last filed income tax returns are on the third and fourth positions.

Out of the 92 candidates analyzed who have never filed IT returns, INC has 15, SAD has 11, PPP has 20 and BSP has 27. The top three candidates with maximum assets who have never filed their IT returns are Karan Kaur of INC contesting from Muktsar with total assets of Rs 128 crore, followed by

Ramanjit Singh Sikki of INC contesting from Khadoor Sahib and Gurpartap Singh Wadala of SAD contesting from Nakodar have total assets worth Rs 20.12 crore and Rs 13.71 crore respectively.

47 (12%) candidates do not have a PAN number of which 5 are from INC, 5 fromSAD, 7 from PPP and 18 from BSP. The top three candidates with maximum assets but not declared their PAN card details are Gurpartap Singh Wadala of SAD contesting from Nakodar with total assets of Rs 13.71

crore, followed by Brahm Mohindra of INC contesting from Patiala Rural and Sikander Singh an independent candidate contesting from Rampura Phul have total assets of Rs 6.49.

 Uttarakhand:

99 (36%) candidates out of the 278 candidates analyzed have declared that they have never filed ITR.  For BSP 31 (44%) out of 70 candidates, UKD (P) 24 (55%) out of 44 candidates, BJP 20 (29%) out of 70 candidates and INC 10 (14%) out of 70 candidates, have declared that they have never filed ITR.

42 out of 278 candidates analyzed (15%) who are contesting in Uttarakhand 2012 Assembly Elections have not declared their PAN card details. Out of the 42 candidates who have not declared their PAN details, 6 candidates are Crorepati.

Out of 278 candidates analyzed, 99 candidates (36%) have declared that they have not filed their ITR. Among them, Shahjad of BSP has the highest assets of approximately 6.52 crore followed by Kaleem of BJP with assets worth around 3.15 crores.

Informer behind bars- Oops they did it again

There may be a lot of confusion over the arrest of Naquee Ahmed Wasi Ahmed and it would be a while before this issue has some clarity on the same. However the biggest set back in all this is for the Intelligence Bureau for whom this man was an informer.

Sources told rediff.com that this is quite embarrassing and those who had groomed him to be their informer have lost face in front of the informer community. The re-birth of the Indian Mujhaideen was something that the IB was well aware of. They did realise that although there was quite a lull over the past couple of years, the outfit was making every attempt to restructure itself. It was very important for the agencies to pick and chose informers from that particular community who could move around with ease and gather information. In the case of Naquee the agencies had managed to pick up a lot of information. In fact it was him who gave them the particular inf u regarding Yaseen Bhatkal who was said to visit an apartment in Byculla. The Delhi police was on the trail and decided that it would be best to inform the Maharashtra ATS regarding the same. However there was a hurried situation and the apartment owner was arrested which tipped off Bhatkal as a result of which he managed to give the slip.

This case once again shows in very poor light the coordination between the IB and the police. It had happened earlier in the Bangalore blasts case in which an informer was picked and shown as an accused in the case. The 13/7 investigations are no different and this has angered the IB no end which feels that the trust factor has been broken.

According to the IB this is a blunder and such incidents would only ensure that informers will shy away from helping them. The other issue is that those officials dealing with such informers cannot make public the name of these persons. It is not ethical to reveal the name of the sources. Moreover there is no proper protection under law to safeguard the interests of the informers and there is a dire need of bringing them under the Whistle Blowers Protection Act once that is in place.

Naquee according to sources was a crucial link which could help bust the network of the IM to a large extent and this act by the ATS of picking him up with proper investigation is probably one of the biggest goof ups. It is said that Naquee was being groomed as an informer for quite some time and it was with a great deal of difficulty that they managed to coax him to help them in this operation. It has taken years of hard work to build the confidence of informers who are usually told about the menace of terrorism and how they could help in eradicating the menace.

There is not much protection that we can give them under the law as they fall under the ambit of a covert operation. The major factor is trust and protection of the family members. However if the police go about arresting such persons then the situation becomes chaotic and no one is ever going to come forward and be an informant to any police agency.

A senior police officer however points out that this has happened only due to lack of coordination. Informers are most of the time found with terrorists and are in the know of various aspects regarding a particular operation. Those persons in the intelligence must make it a point to inform at least a high ranking officer in the police so that the informer is protected. Even if the police were to arrest him then the higher ups will intervene and ensure that the man is let off as he would have prior information regarding his operation. This most of the time the IB never does and this could lead to a lot of confusion. The police too are under immense pressure to show a head count of the number of persons they have picked up. Often there is a lot of pressure from the media which often questions the speed of any investigation which in turn leads an investigator to hurry things up.

Looking at the investigation into the 13/7 case, it appears to be a hurried and botched up operation very much on the lines of the 26/11 investigation which picked up the likes of Sabhahuddin and Fahim Ansari.

The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, a New Delhi-based organisation of university teachers and students which has studied relevant aspects of the case points out that the Maharashtra ATS claims to have cracked the 13/7 blasts case. Its chief has revealed in a press conference that Indian Mujahideen was behind the blasts. And yet, the Ministry of Home Affairs remains far from impressed.

The case was cracked within a day of Naquee being handed over to the ATS.

Did the Maharashtra ATS ever visit Delhi to pick up/question Naquee? It simply pounced upon him within moments of the Special Cell ‘abandoning’ Naquee.

The ATS Chief in his press conference clearly said that the arrest was made on 12th January 2012. His family alleges that he was picked up on the night of 9th January. Not only this, his brothers Rafi and Razi were also detained by the ATS.  Nadeem was also arrested the same night.

Did Naquee just walk into the ATS office and offer himself up, or was the ATS tailing him? If they had him on surveillance, surely they knew how closely he was working with the Special Cell; his numerous trips to the Special Cell and their regular phone calls to him? Naquee’s trips:

The ATS boss says that Naquee had been visiting Madanpura area since September-October 2010. Would he explain why the last two of those trips were made in the company of Delhi Police Special Cell? And may it be said that Naquee was not brought in under detention or arrest.

Clothes of Naquee and Nadeem have been recovered from the house where the main suspects lived, claimed the Chief. Is the Chief familiar with their wardrobe and sartorial preferences in the absence of any forensics tests to claim that clothes belonging to Naquee and Nadeem have been recovered?

The ATS says that these bikes would have been used in future terror acts. Implicating people in future conspiracies, where evidence need not be produced because the act hasn’t taken place at all is the oldest trick in the police armour. If indeed those bikes are stolen (the family disputes it), then book Naquee and Nadeem for theft, Chief, not under UAPA.  

The Chief was emphatic that Rs 1.5 Lakhs had passed through Naquee’s hands but could not explain when asked where the monies had come from. “Hawala”, he mumbled, and insisted that the investigations were still on. So, if the investigations were still on and nothing conclusive had been arrived at, why make grandiose claims in a press conference?

While the ATS Chief grandly declared that over 12000 witnesses were questioned, we have no way of knowing how many of them were questioned in illegal detention.  Will the ATS Chief kindly explain why Naquee Ahmed’s elder brothers were detained? Why has his brother’s workshop of trolley bags been turned into a fortress, and reporters and outsiders denied access to them?

Yes, there is competition, but no rivalry. The chief of ATS made a brave attempt at presenting a picture of blissful bonhomie between the ATS and Special Cell (“The head of Special Cell is my batch mate!”) But we saw the ATS team in Delhi grilling Naquee’s brother about what the Special Cell knew—about what he heard Naquee telling the Special Cell. If the two agencies are so friendly, should not they be sharing information rather than harassing and hounding family members? Why has the ATS been after Naquee’s brother?

Too often we have seen these agencies turning into predators, consuming those very men it seeks out for help and cooperation. The Special Cell may be crying buckets now, but they have implicated IB informers as dreaded terrorists (remember Qamar and Irshad) earlier. The cut-throat grey world of unaccounted powers and funds ‘to tackle terror’ has veered out of control.

Jaipur blasts- A trial that never was

Dr. Ishaq’s medical practice was ruined, as was Dr. Yunus’s. Dr. Yunus’ family including wife and four children had to survive by accepting support and charity.
Taufeeq, Dr. Ishaq’s son, also accused in the case was midway through his BUMS course. His education has been interrupted thanks to his illegal incarceration. Nadeem’s small grocery shop collapsed. Nazakat was the sole breadwinner of the family, after his father had expired—barely a month before his arrest. His shop of tractor parts lies desolate today. Amanullah’s mobile phone business could not recover after his release.
Torture and confinement led many of them to the brink of mental derailment. Amanullah and Munawwar especially suffered from severe depression and insomnia. Amanullah broke down several times, recalling the horrors of torture. Munawwar, as a result of the severe anxiety and stress suffered partial paralysis.
Three and a half years—one hundred and eighty two weeks— of the lives of these eleven men have been spent in custody, in tiny airless cells where humiliation and torture became the order of the day and despair turned them into depressives. Outside, their families were stigmatized and their business destroyed and they even struggled to make ends meet.
A report by the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association titled, “ The Case that never was-The SIMI trial of Jaipur raises several important points as to how several men were tortured and also the manner in which the police botched up the investigation in this very important case in which scores and scores of people died in the horrific Jaipur blasts.
For starters the accused were not charged with either conspiracy or execution of bomb blasts in Jaipur in 2008. According to the FIR and chargesheet, they were responsible for carrying out activities of the banned SIMI.
Jaipur witnessed serial blasts on 13th May 2008. Three months later, Kota and the neighbouring district of Bara saw hectic police activity with the Muslim mohallas of the city seeing increased police surveillance. In August,around thetime of the shab-e-baraat to be precise, police parties started to visit homes of Muslim youths asking them to come to the Maqbara Chowk police station for poochh taachh (enquiry).
The first to be picked up were Dr. Ishaq and his son, Md. Taufeeq, who was pursuing a BUMS course in Jaipur and was visiting home during that period. They were picked up by the police from their home in the dead of the night on 16th August. Another young man Nazakat Husain was also rounded up around the same time. The following day saw three young men, Imran, Mehdi Hasan and Dr. Yunus, picked up. The police was not done yet though.
This forced those on the wanted list to surrender themselves for questioning. On 18th, Amaanullah, Nadeem Akhtar and Atiqur Rehman surrendered at the Maqbara Chowk thana. These men and their families were confident at that time that they would be released soon. Their confidence was premised on two things: first, their innocence, and second, the police, especially Nasimullah, the DSP, Kota Police (at that time), kept insisting that they were wanted only for some questioning in connection with the Jaipur blasts—that there was no case against them. These ‘arrests and surrenders in Kota were public knowledge—with many of these men being accompanied by their relatives to the police station and one even quite literally, in media view.
Amaanullah used to run a mobile repairing shop in 2008. The police started to visit his house since the shabe-e-baraat and he went to the Maqbara PS on the night of the 18th at about 11 o clock. He met Nasimullah who told him that he would be released after a few rounds of questioning. No enquiries were made of him however till 4 o’ clock in the early
morning when he was taken to Jaipur by a team of Special Operations Group personnel which had come from Jaipur SOG Headquarters. It was in Jaipur where he was subjected to sustained, relentless—and as the evidence shows, very brutal—questioning.
Munawwar, a ladies tailor, was similarly being called to the Patanpol PS. He consulted the city qazi,who advised him to surrender. When he went to Patanpol PS to surrender on 21st August night, he saw media converged at the PS, waiting to relay the surrender ‘Live’. Nasimullah flew into a rage and telephoned him saying he would not accept his surrender in full media view and ordered him to return. Munawwar returned to the city qazi’s house then in the narrow lane where the qazi’s home was, Nasimullah arrived in his police jeep and whisked Munawwar away. On the way to the PS, Nasimullah called up some media people requesting them to ignore the surrender story.
36-year-old Md. Ilyas—a small time teacher, a post graduate in English Literature from Kota University and resident of Talabpara in Bara—was similarly visited by the Bara police several times between 20th and 25th August. His family was threatened and his father briefly taken away when the police could not find Ilyas. On25th,Ilyas finally surrendered before the Bara police who took him to the SOG HQ in Jaipur. 1
Two people from Jodhpur, namely, Azam Ghazdhar and Md. Sohail Modi were also taken into custody for questioning in connection with the Jaipur blasts, taking the total number to 13.
A feature common to all these cases was the fact that all the accused had surrendered themselves in the police station—whether in Kota, Bara or Jodhpur—but they were shown as arrested in Jaipur, where the SOG HQ is. There was typically a lag of 6-7 days between the date of surrender and the date of ostensible ‘arrest’ and production before the magistrate—thus allowing for illegal detention of a period of almost one week for every accused. This was a period spent in the custody of the SOG, which was turned practically into a vicious torture chamber.
Even though these people had been called into the local police stations on the pretext of making enquiries, no enquiries were made of them there. It was only when they were transported to the SOG HQ in Jaipur that the questioning began.
They were repeatedly asked the name of the mosque where they routinely offered namaz; names and contacts of friends and relatives, and about links with the banned organization SIMI. Questioning was accompanied with horrific torture, both physical and mental. They were continuously beaten with leather straps and belts which were 4 inches wide. These men were deprived of sleep and humiliated by threats that their wives and sisters would be also be picked up by the police.
Amanullah for example, begged the commando guarding his cell to speak to the senior officers, to ask why he was being held like this.
Following their production before the magistrate, the SOG secured police custody for fourteen days, ostensibly for questioning, following which eleven of them were handed over to the judicial custody—while the Gujarat Police got the custody of three, namely, Imran, Mehdi Hasan and Atiqur Rehman and spirited them away to Ahmedabad. When they were finally handed over to the Central Jail, Jaipur, their spirit had already been beaten by the abuse and violation they had suffered at the hands of the SOG.
The first shock they received was that the SOG, while handing them over the jail superintendent, declared that accused in the Jaipur blasts were being handed over. Upon their arrival in the jail, a board was hung at the main gate in full public view, which proclaimed that“Dreaded terrorists of SIMI are housed in this jail. Each was lodged in a solitary cell. This comprised of a kothi, a kind of an ante-chamber of 8 x 10, with two doors: the outer door was made up of metal bars and the inner door was a solid metal door.
In the period in which they were subjected to the extreme torture, a production before the magistrate was due. This was arranged for within the jail premises through video conferencing. The men were lined up, hooded—always hooded outside their cell—and assembled in a little cleared patch within the jail. Here, they waited for hours, and even a little restlessness, movement or stretching of limbs was rewarded by kicks and beatings. One of the men even fainted as a result. They were expressly threatened not to reveal anything about their torture inside the jail.
The second production was in the court where they were produced hooded. The court did not seek their hoods to be removed. It was this time when their charges were to be read out that they peeled off their hoods and showed to the magistrate what horrible states they had been reduced to: their lice- infested hair, the terrible stench from their unwashed bodies, their unbearably foul smelling clothes. It was only then that the magistrate asked the public prosecutor and jailor for ensuring the hygiene and cleanliness of the under-trials. But even now, they could not bring themselves to admit of the violations and violence to the magistrate.
In November of 2008, they moved a writ in the court seeking to be treated as ordinary prisoners—pleading that they be allowed, as per jail manual, to remain free to move outside their cells within stipulated times. When the court sought a response from the prison authorities, the reply was that these prisoners were not being subjected to any discriminatory rules—a reply that was taken at face value, adding to their despair.
They were finally let out from the inner cell into the kothi through whose latticed ceiling, they could at least see the sun. To their great misfortune, however, the same day, terrorists carried out the 26/11 attack. They were pushed back into their dingy cells—as though somehow they were responsible for what was happening in another city—or that somehow, they had become more dangerous by the turn of events.
For a long time these men were kept in the dark about the crimes they were going to be charged with. Notwithstanding the hype of bomb blasts surrounding their surrender, these men were not charged with the conspiracy or execution of serial blasts. The sections under which they were charged were: 153 A, 295 A, 120 B of CRPC and sections 3.10,13, 17, 18, 19 of UAPA (1967). They were accused of carrying out the activities of the banned organization SIMI, rather than any precise activity leading to terrorist acts. The main charge against the accused was of spreading communal venom against Hindu gods and goddesses, talking against national unity, integrity and secularism, of involving Muslim youth in anti-national activities, of carrying on activities of SIMI despite the ban on the organization, and of providing protection and refuge to those indulging in similar activities.
Though neither the chargesheets nor the FIR is able to make any direct links between them and any specific terror act, there are deliberate obfuscations and repeated allusions to Jaipur blasts and Ahmedabad blasts, in order to make their alleged crimes appear suitably grave.

FIR summary:
SIMI was banned through a government notification on 27th September 2001. The Gujarat Police made several arrests in connection with the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on 26-07-2008. The SIT of Rajasthan was investigating the serial blasts of Jaipur on 13-05- 2008 and in its interrogation of those arrested by the Gujarat police and its research found that one Sajid Mansuri, leader of SIMI was conducting meetings in Surat after the ban in 2001.6 The police raided the meeting but Mansuri managed to flee. The FIR claims that Sajid relocated to Kota and assumed the name Salim. In Kota, he organized a cell of SIMI and involved the accused (Munawwar, Imran, Pintoo, Atique, Mehdi Hasan, Ishaq, Nazakat, Amanullah, Dr. Yunus, Nadeem—all residents of Kota) in his activities who supported him knowing full well that SIMI was a banned organization. Munawar was the chief of this core group, Atique was the secretary and Imran the treasurer. Dr. Ishaq provided a house to Sajid Mansuri (alias Salim). Ishaq’s son Taufiq was also well aware of Sajid Mansuri’s activities and supported him. They held several meetings at the homes of Munawwar and Ishaq and enlisted other members as well. … In 2006, Sajid alias Salim left Kota for Baroda, handing over the charge to Munawwar. He however continued to come back to Kota and other towns of Rajasthan for SIMI work. It was found that funds were mobilized for carrying on the activities of SIMI.
Several meetings were held and addressed by SIMI leaders such as Abu Bashar, Subhan alias Tauqeer, Amil Parvez and Inamur Rehman who travelled from outside Rajasthan. Three of these activists – Imran, Atiqur Rehman and Mehdi Hasan – travelled to Gujarat to received arms training between 12-14 January 2008.
Further, the secret meetings of the banned organization were said to be held at a dargah at Nanta, Andha Hafiz Mosque, at Kewal Nagar, and under the railway track puliya on Alaniya river. These spots were identified by the accused under Section 27 of the Evidence Act. Elaborate maps of the sites were then prepared by the police in the presence of independent witnesses.
Banned literature was key evidence to demonstrate that accused were continuing the activities of an unlawful organization. This was seized from the tailoring shop of Munawwar, the alleged kingpin of the Kota Cell of SIMI.

First, senior officers who supposedly provided information to Mahendra Singh Chaudhury are not mentioned by name. No official communication is cited. Not even interrogation reports of those arrested in Gujarat—on whose basis the accused were arrested—are mentioned or quoted. This all remains in the realm of hearsay then.
Second, it inverts the process of policing. FIR is filed, accused rounded up—with not even preliminary investigation being conducted to ascertain the veracity of any of these allegations emanating from the ‘seniors’. The vagueness of allegations is only matched by the infirmity of evidences.
A total of 48 witnesses were listed by the prosecution, of which 43 were examined, the remaining five either dead or dropped by the court. By the end of the trial, almost all—38 to be precise—except the police witnesses, had turned hostile. The police witnesses proved themselves to be unreliable. Below, we examine
The recovery of banned material in the form of magazines, pamphlets and CDs—also fell flat in the court. Naval Kishore Purohit, Additional SP in SOG, who was the investigating officer of the case stated the following in the court in cross examination:
“It is true that I never got a translation of the magazines (articles 8, 9, 10) in Urdu, neither did I write any correspondence for the same, nor can it be stated what is written in these articles. It is true that SIMI was a legal organization prior to the September 2001 and that it was declared unlawful only after 2001. It is true that the articles 6-10 [copies of Islamic Movement] predate the ban. It is also true that they were not sealed upon seizure at the site. It is also true that article 13 (yellow envelope) has not been sealed. There are no signatures on it: neither mine, nor of the witnesses, nor of the accused. Neither is there a date on the article.
So the whole case had been bolstered by the recovery of magazines, which were published prior to the ban on SIMI in September 2001 and it was perfectly legal to possess them.
The report states that there can be no closure, either morally, ethically or legally, till such time as those guilty of carrying out, ordering and supervising the torture of these men in police and judicial custody are not prosecuted. The acquitted men recognize those who tortured them. Indeed, one of their tormentors—IG A. Ponnucahmi—is currently in Jaipur Jail, for a fake encounter case, while another, DIG A K Jain is a declared absconder in the same crime. Nonetheless, even those in jail must be tried separately for the brutality they wreaked in the SOG HQs, as indeed must criminal charges be filed against those who framed these men in a false case. Jail Superintendent Preeta Bhargava, currently suspended from her position as the Ajmer Jail Superintendent for granting parole to a murder convict despite the court rejecting his application, must also be made to pay for brazen violation of the jail manual.