Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh is the only one among the 13 arrested for the July 11, 2006, serial train blasts to have walked out a free man. On Friday, a Special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court convicted 12 others for the blasts which left 188 people dead and 829 injured.
Shaikh’s cousin and uncle met him at Arthur Road Jail on Saturday afternoon. His first visit after release was to his advocate’s office at Bhendi Bazaar. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Shaikh, who had been accused of providing his home in Mumbra for harbouring Pakistanis (said to be involved in the blasts conspiracy), was acquitted by the court on grounds of lack of evidence. He was released from Arthur Road Jail, where he had been kept as an undertrial ever since his arrest in 2006. His uncle and cousin met him outside the jail after he was released at 2 pm on Saturday.
Shaikh, 36, made his first stop as a free man at the Bhendi Bazaar office of Jamiat Ulama-E-Maharashtra, a legal aid organisation, that defended him and the other accused in the case.
Shaikh’s advocate Shahid Ansari said, “He doesn’t want to speak before he receives a copy of the judgment. We will go through it and then decide on further action. Because a lot of procedures had to be completed, Shaikh was released on Saturday and not Friday. Additionally, his release bond arrived at the jail on Friday at 6 pm.”
Shaikh’s younger brother (who didn’t want to be identified) told Sunday mid-day, that Shaikh was arrested at the police station on September 29, 2006. “Shaikh went to the police station after being called there by the local police. He was arrested immediately and never returned home. Later, a few officers came home to inform us that he had been arrested,” the brother said.
Relatives also said that the Mumbra home in which Shaikh was living was a rented accommodation. However, the landlord ended the lease years ago. Now, his family lives in Ghatkopar.
While Shaikh was not willing to speak to the media, his cousin told this paper, “Before his arrest, Shaikh was a teacher at the Anjuman-i-Islam High School at Do Tanki, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. However, he was suspended following the arrest. We will now move an application to get his old job back.”
Relatives added that during the nine years he spent in jail, Shaikh completed a course in journalism and is currently pursuing a degree in law.