Family of city tailor held in Delhi claims police stitch-up

“On the day of the (August 1) blasts, my brother was comfortably sitting in the house and my question to the police is if somebody had taken part in such an act then how come that person could sit in the house without fear,” said Sayed Fayyaz, the younger brother of one of the terror suspects arrested in the JM Road low-intensity serial explosions case, Sayed Feroz.

The Delhi police yesterday claimed to have cracked the low-intensity serial blasts case after arresting Asad Khan of Aurangabad, Imran Khan of Nanded and Firoz, who is from the city, and said the three were Indian Mujahideen (IM) men.

Sayed Feroz 

Fayyaz, a resident of Shukrawar Peth who has a milk distribution business in the city, said: “We can not believe that my brother could be a part of Indian Mujahideen, who executed the blasts in Pune on August, as he was a very hardworking and kind-hearted person. He was always the first to help people, irrespective of their religion.”

Feroz’s father Abdul Hamid, who has a key-making shop at the corner of Rashtrabhushan Chowk in Shukrawar Peth, also alleged that his son had been falsely implicated in the case by the police and referred to Feroz as a hardworking man who was too busy with his work and family to get into terror activities.

Abdul Hamid

“My son studied till Std 10 from Shivaji Maratha school in Shukrawar Peth and later started working as a tailor and, in a very short period, set up three garment shops in Cantonment area, specialising in stitching sherwanis,” Hamid said, tears streaming from his eyes. “He earned a good name in the locality and the business flourished like anything.”

He said that 15 to 17 days ago, Feroz told them that he would be going to Delhi for some visa-related work as he also used to work as visa agent for the Haj pilgrimage.

the building at Grace Corner in Ghorpadi Peth where Feroz lived in one flat with his wife and children and his in-laws live in another flat

“He told us that he would also be going to Mumbai and Varanasi as he wanted to buy some garments for the shop for the upcoming Diwali festival,” Hamid said. “After leaving, he did not call us for more than eight days and that made everybody worried. We called him on his cell phone and he said that he was busy with work and also asked us not to worry and not to bother ourselves any more. His wife and four children too got worried and complained to me that Feroz was not reachable for several times.”

Sayed Feroz’s father-in-law Zahiruddin Shaikh and mother-in-law

Hamid said Feroz had called on Monday to say that he would be coming to home as his business in Delhi was over. “His call relieved us, but today (Thursday) afternoon, we saw the news on television that three persons have been arrested by the Delhi police in connection with the serial bomb blast cases of JM Road,” he said. “We received a rude shock after seeing Feroz’s name among the arrested accused.”

Fayyaz refuted the allegations that his brother had been indoctrinated and sent to Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions and that he had met one Fayyaz Qagzi there and had held discussions about jihad and carrying out terror strikes in India. He said that his brother had gone to the Gulf country for Haj and the allegations by the police were baseless.

Feroz’s garments shop Options in Camp. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

Speaking about Qagzi, the handler of the bomb planters, he said: “My brother had several friends and once I saw him talking to a now-slain notorious goon, Wasim Rafiq Shaikh alias Wasim Khada, but it does not mean that my brother was also part of their gang or used to indulge in anti-social activities.”

When reporters yesterday arrived at Feroz’s residence at Grace Corner in Mominpura, they found the house locked. Neighbours said that no one had been there for a week.

“Firoz, his wife and four children live here, but we have not seen Firoz for the last 15 to 17 days and his wife and kids have also not been seen since the last seven to eight days,” a neighbour said.

Firoz’s in-laws also live in the same building; his father-in-law, Zahiruddin Shaikh, said that through he used to live just downstairs, he rarely used to come to see then as he was every very busy in his work.

“For the last 15 days, he was not in the city and told us that he had gone to Delhi, but when his wife Shagufta could not trace him, she along with my elder son went to find him,” Shaikh, who runs a general store in the Mominpura, said. “Today we got to know that he has been arrested by the Delhi police for the terrorist attack in the city, which is unbelievable.” (With inputs from Anup Satphale)

Sayed Feroz file
>> Born on December 21, 1974, in Shukrawar Peth
>> Studied till Std X in Shivaji Maratha High School in the same area
>> After schooling, started helping father in key-making business
>> Later started working as visa agent for Haj pilgrimage
>> Learnt tailoring work and set up three garment shops by the name of ‘Options’ in Cantonment in partnership with one Mohsin
>> Known in the locality and business fraternity as ‘Option Firoz’
>> Wife’s name Shagufta. Couple have two daughters and two sons
>> Family says he never harboured ill feeling for any community, stresses he was involved in all religious programmes of Hindu friends 

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