A 45-year-old prime witness in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case was yesterday arrested by the Versova police for trying to rape a 34-year-old woman, a day after she lodged a complaint with them.
The accused, Usman Jaan Khan, had earlier been arrested in the 1993 blasts case, but was later produced in court as a prime witness by the city police. Police officials said that Khan was known to the victim and her family who, like him, stayed in Versova. He had visited her house and she his, along with her husband, many times.
According to the complainant, Khan has been harassing her for the last one year. She said she had wanted to approach the police earlier but the thought of her family would hold her back.
In her complaint, the woman said that on Thursday Khan barged into her house, grabbed her and said he’d force himself on her. When she resisted, he threatened to kill her, and to drive home the point, he showed her the weapon carried by the security guard appointed for his protection, after he turned witness in the blasts case a few years ago.
Talking to MiD DAY, the complainant said, “For more than a year, Usman has been harassing me. My husband is usually out of town on business trips, and Usman would try entering my house when my children were at school. He asked me for sexual favours on many occasions. But on Thursday, he forcefully held my hand and started intimidating me to have physical relations with me. He also groped me. ”
She added, “Because of his criminal history, I was scared to go to the police. But when I told my husband of Thursday’s incident, he stood by me and took me to file a complaint.”
Khan was booked under various sections of the IPC, including 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 452 (house-trespass with preparation to hurt, assault, or wrongful restraint), 509 (word or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) and 506 (criminal intimidation). He was produced in court on Friday and was sent to police custody for a day.
Role in blasts
In the years before the 1993 blasts, Usman alias Badshah Khan was involved in real estate in Santacruz. He had visited Pakistan to receive training in handling arms and explosives. After his return, he became a trusted lieutenant of Tiger Memon. He was part of the team that recced the blast targets. After the blasts, Khan fled to Delhi, from where he was arrested.