After 10 yrs in jail, '93 blasts convict wanted again

Published: Dec 16, 2011, 08:35 IST | Bhupen Patel |

Released in 2007, Ehtesham Shaikh escaped from a Thane session court after an arrest order in an attempt to murder case was passed

Released in 2007, Ehtesham Shaikh escaped from a Thane session court after an arrest order in an attempt to murder case was passed 
Ten years of imprisonment has not been able to reverse the criminal tendencies of 1993 bomb blasts convict Mohmmad Ehtesham Shaikh. After being released in 2007 after finishing his sentence as an undertrial, Shaikh has been booked in at least four cases in Mumbai and Thane, and declared wanted in one after he escaped from the Thane session court two days ago during the hearing of an attempt to murder case.

In 2007, Ehtesham, who participated in the Shekhadi landing and transportation of arms and ammunition, was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and asked to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. Since he had spent most of his tenure as an undertrial behind bars, he was set free after conviction. Soon after his release, Ehtesham was booked in four cases, one each with and Vakola, JJ Marg, Trombay and Mumbra police stations for cruelty to animals, attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt on intention and attempt to murder respectively.

As per the case registered with the Mumbra police, on January 19 this year, Ehtesham was accused of attacking builder Akhtar Anis Khan, a resident of Jogeshwari, through his associates Harun Abdul Shaikh (30) and Shahnawaz Gani (31).  As per the complaint, while Khan was travelling with an employee, Ehtesham's aides Shaikh and Gani chased him on another bike and attacked him with choppers. Khan, who sustained severe injuries to his thigh, armpit and chest, alleged that Shaikh had orchestrated the attack after he refused lend him a flat. Sheikh was booked for attempt to murder. 

On Wednesday, Ehtesham made a furtive escape from Thane session court where he made an appearance for a hearing in the case. After the sessions judge cancelled his interim bail and ordered for his arrest, Ehtesham slipped out and bolted without drawing attention to himself.

Assistant Police Inspector SK Machre, Mumbra police station said, "Ehtesham has been absconding since the beginning of the case. During the course of hearing, he was granted interim bail. But his bail application was rejected on Wednesday and he is wanted in the case."

Role in bomb blasts
Ehtesham was found guilty of taking part in the 1993 bomb blast conspiracy, landing arms and RDX at the Shekhadi coast in Raigad in February 1993, agreeing to undergo weapons training and going to Dubai en route to Pakistan. Ehtesham, a close aide of alleged gangster Ejaz Pathan, was hired by Tiger Memon to help him in landing arms and RDX smuggled from Pakistan. He was convicted for 10 years imprisonment under IPC Section 120-b (conspiracy) and TADA Section 3(3) (aiding and abetting terror acts).

Past charges 
Ehtesham was first arrested in April 1993 after the serial bomb blasts that killed 257 people. In 1999, he was granted bail by a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court. In 2001, he was booked for attempts to murder and under the Arms act at the Agripada and Pydhonie police stations. As the criminal cases piled up against him, he was charged with the Maharashtra Prevention of Disruptive Activities (MPDA) Act. After his arrest, the TADA court cancelled his bail application.  Five years later, in 2006, Ehtesham jumped bail again. But in 2007, the TADA court ordered all the 1993 blasts accused to be present before the court and Ehtesham had to report to Arthur Road prison. The same year, the court announced its verdict in the case and Ehtesham, who had served 10 years in imprisonment already as an undertrial, was released from jail.

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