Gujarat ATS nabs 2002 Ghatkopar blast accused in Maharashtra

Updated: Aug 08, 2018, 19:03 IST | PTI

ATS officials nabbed Yahya Abdul Rehman Shaikh (45) from Aurangabad in Maharashtra and handed him over to the Maharashtra police, said a senior ATS official

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

An absconding accused in the 2002 Ghatkopar blast incident in Mumbai was today arrested by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), an official said here. ATS officials nabbed Yahya Abdul Rehman Shaikh (45) from Aurangabad in Maharashtra and handed him over to the Maharashtra police, said a senior ATS official.

Shaikh had fled to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia immediately after the blast, and returned to Aurangabad only two days ago, he said. "Gujarat ATS team was in Aurangabad in connection with some other case. We detained Shaikh on suspicion, and during the questioning he admitted to involvement in the Ghatkopar blast. Since he is not facing any case in Gujarat, we handed him over to Maharashtra police," the official said.

Shaikh was named in the FIR lodged by Mumbai police after the blast and charged under relevant IPC sections as well as under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act (`POTA', which is now repealed), he said. Two persons were killed and 50 others were injured in a blast on a civic-run BEST bus in suburban Ghatkopar in Mumbai on December 2, 2002. "Shaikh owned a factory in Aurangabad. During a raid at the factory after the blast, police had found videos and literature of terror outfits such as Indian Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Videos of Gujarat riots were also found," said the officer. "As per the Mumbai police, other accused in the case were influenced by this propaganda material and took part in the blast conspiracy," the ATS officer said. An official of the Maharashtra police confirmed Shaikh's arrest, but refused to reveal more details.

During the trial of the Ghatkopar blast case so far, all the arrested accused have been discharged for lack of evidence. Yesterday, the Mumbai court discharged Ifran Qureshi, arrested in the case from Aurangabad in May this year, after the police submitted that there was no sufficient evidence against him.

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