M A I N   N E W S

Turf war turns terror witness into accused
Faraz Ahmad/TNS

New Delhi, January 22
Is Naquee Ahmed another innocent Muslim youth in his early twenties to be unfairly detained, tortured and charged with terrorist links? Or, is he a terrorist or a terrorist in-the-making?

The answer is not forthcoming from either the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, which reportedly used the young man to identify culprits believed to have planted bombs in Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai (July, 2011), or the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police, which picked him up in Mumbai on January 9 and formally arrested him the next day.

Keki N Daruwalla, a member of the National Commission for Minorities and himself a retired police officer, today complained that the ATS of Mumbai Police was stonewalling all queries related to the curious detention of Naquee Ahmed.

On Sunday, Daruwalla told The Tribune, “I tried to speak to Mumbai Police Commissioner Arun Patnaik and Maharashtra ATS Chief Rakesh Maria. I also sent them messages through SMS. But nobody has bothered to get back to me. I hope they respond tomorrow, when the offices open.”

Asked what were his options if they continued to ignore his request, the audibly frustrated NCM member said, “I don’t think we have too many options. It is now for the Home Ministry to take cognizance and take appropriate action.”

He has, however, written a strong letter to Maharashtra Home Secretary U C Sarangi, asking him to provide a report about the entire incident to NCM. But even Sarangi has not cared to reply so far.

The incident has exposed the lack of coordination between the two security agencies, which seem to be competing, rather than cooperating with each other. It also demonstrates the possessiveness of the different agencies over their own turf.

While full details are still not available, the detained young man’s family claims that the Special Cell of Delhi Police had got in touch with Naquee Ahmed, who has business interests in both Delhi and Mumbai, while tracking the terrorists responsible for the bombing, which killed 26 people and injured 131. The NCM chairman Wajahat Habibullah confirmed receiving the complaint and said that he had referred it to Daruwalla.

The family claims he had introduced the two suspects, Waqas and Tabrez, to a property agent in Mumbai for securing a rented accommodation. Naquee (23) claimed he was introduced to the suspects by one of his neighbours -- Jamali, who was arrested by the Special Cell in November last year.

While working with the Special Cell of Delhi Police, he travelled twice by air to Mumbai, on December 10 and on January 8. But apparently the Delhi Police kept it a secret and failed to take the ATS into confidence.

While Naquee identified the two suspects on a CCTV footage, the ATS landed at Ahmed’s workshop in Mumbai and picked him up.

There were heated exchanges between the handful of Special Cell sleuths, who had accompanied Ahmed to Mumbai, and the ATS, which prevailed and walked away with Naquee and his two elder brothers Rafi and Razi. ATS the next day charged Naquee with procuring SIM cards with forged documents while releasing the brothers.

Preliminary inquiries reveal that Naquee’s identification had discredited ATS claims that Pakistan-based Yasin Bhatkal was responsible for the Zaveri Bazar bombing.

the Curious case of Naquee Ahmed

  • Delhi Police used Naquee Ahmed to identify culprits who “planted bombs” in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar (July 2011)
  • The Mumbai Police ATS picked him up in Mumbai on January 9 and formally arrested him the next day
  • Ahmed’s family says the Delhi Police Special Cell contacted him while probing the July 2011 blasts
  • Naquee identified two suspects from CCTV footage. The ATS landed at Ahmed’s workshop in Mumbai and picked him up
  • There were heated exchanges between Special Cell sleuths, who accompanied Ahmed to Mumbai, and the ATS, which prevailed and walked away with Ahmed and his elder brothers
  • Mumbai Police stonewalls Minority Commission





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