A 40-year-old Mumbra resident recounts his ordeal of being hounded by the police after his brother-in-law in Dubai allegedly told the cops he was part of a terror plot to attack a school
What had started as a mission to save his cousin sister from her abusive husband in Dubai, turned into a nightmare for 40-year-old Mumbra resident Nadeem Shaikh, after his vengeful brother-in-law told the authorities he was part of a terror plot to attack a city school. Even as the police try to figure out how to take action against the Pakistani national who made the hoax call, Shaikh recounts the two-day ordeal as he suddenly found himself hounded by cops.
“I was shocked when I was detained as a terrorist. I was questioned from different angles by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Mumbra Police, Railway Police, Navi Mumbai Police, Thane Crime Branch and the special branch from the Thane Commissionerate,” said Shaikh, a manager at the Shaadi Mahal wedding hall near his house in Amrut Nagar, Mumbra.
Shaikh told the investigators that he wasn’t part of any terror plot and that the caller was none other than his brother-in-law, who wanted to teach him a lesson.
“My cousin sister’s husband planned this conspiracy so I would be harassed by police. He will go to any length to teach me a lesson, and had even warned me he would take revenge,” said Shaikh.
Shaikh alleged that the caller — Dubai-based Pakistani national, Mohammed Fazil Nabi Gulam — had married his cousin sister and had been brutally abusing her for eight years.
When Shaikh tried to intervene, the accused was incensed, and cooked up the terror plot.
Shaikh’s cousin, Shabnam, was widowed after her first husband died in an accident. She was left with their one-year-son, and it was to improve his future prospects that she went to Dubai, in UAE, to work as a domestic help. There, she was employed by the accused, Gulam.
“They fell in love and were married within a year. They have an 8-year-old daughter together, who resides with them in Dubai, while her son — now 14 years old — lives with her relatives in Mumbra,” said Shaikh.
However, Shabnam’s family was entirely unaware that she was being abused by her husband, until she came to Mumbra a year ago. “We asked her about her daughter and why she doesn’t bring her to India, and Shabnam began crying. She told us about the harassment she had been meted out by her husband for the last eight years,” Shaikh recalled. In fact, Gulam had made similar threats to declare Shabnam a terrorist if she told anyone about the abuse. “He threatened to call the Mumbai Police and tell them she was a terrorist active in Dubai,” said Shaikh.
“He also won’t let her daughter leave, and threatened to kill the girl if Shabnam tries to leave herself. So, for the love of her daughter, Shabnam had to return to Dubai,” added the Mumbra man, who has now asked the police to help his sister as well.
“I tried to help Shabnam return to India and told her to register a case against her husband, but this led to my brother-in-law targeting me,” said Shaikh, who has since been released by the cops, but has still been instructed to report to the police station every day to mark his attendance.
Senior Police Inspector Ravindra Tayade from the Mumbra police station confirmed that the call was indeed a hoax and identified the caller as Mohammed Fazil Nabi Gulam. “After investigation, we found it was a hoax call made in revenge. We took all the documents of Nadeem Shaikh and checked his background but did not find any terrorist links or criminal records,” added Tayade.
Yesterday, mid-day reported the two-day nightmare that the police and Nadeem Shaikh went through after the Navi Mumbai control room received a call on January 29 from a man who identified himself as ‘Hafeez Rehman’ from Peshawar. He said he had knowledge of an impending terror attack on a city school by four jihadis who were being harboured by Nadeem Shaikh in Mumbra. The next day, Shaikh was detained and questioned by the police, who realised that it was a prank.