'I was promised Rs 10 lakh and a Bollywood bride if I turned approver'
36-year-old Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh, who was acquitted in the 11/7 train blasts trial, speaks about his experience as one of the accused in the case
Despite being acquitted in the 11/7 blasts trial, Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh can still be spotted at the Special MCOCA court from 11 am to 6 pm every day, where the sentence for the convicted terrorists is yet to be declared.
Abdul Wahid Din Mohammed Shaikh is the only one among the 13 arrested for the 11/7 blasts to have walked out a free man. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
“Like me, even the other accused are innocent, and I am here for them,” said Shaikh, who was the only one out of the 13 accused to walk out a free man. “I did not expect to be convicted, as we had been falsely implicated. But after the court’s decision to convict the others, I feel justice is dead,” added the 36-year-old.
Speaking to mid-day, Shaikh also alleged that he had been tortured by investigators and claimed they also tried to get him to turn approver in the case by luring him with promises of cash and a Bollywood actress as a bride. “When we were in judicial custody, the officers would visit us and try to convince us to turn approver.
They promised to give me Rs 10 lakh and said they would let me off with less jail time of just a few months. They even told me they would find a film actress to be my bride,” said Shaikh, adding that none of the accused had taken up the offer.
“On July 11, 2006, I was at my house in Mumbra and I learnt about the blasts on TV. I felt very bad about it. After some time, on the same day, I got a call from my brother informing me that the police were looking for me,” recalled Shaikh.
He said the police may have been looking for him because his name was on the list of members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). “In 2001, I was at the masjid for prayers when a small fight took place and the police arrested me.
Then they said that I belonged to SIMI and included my name in the list of SIMI members. Since then, whenever there was a blast or a related incident, the police would come looking for me,” he said.
He told this paper that the police questioned him on July 11, 2006, and then let him off. But between that time and his official arrest, he alleges he was illegally detained thrice, and tortured for weeks. According to Shaikh, the cops even went twice to the school where he worked, and the principal had even vouched for his character.
“I received third-degree torture; they would strip us and beat us brutally. There was shock treatment, and there was an injection they would use which would give me a burning sensation in my body,” he alleged.
“Once during my detention, late senior police inspector Vijay Salaskar (who was martyred in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack) had asked me about the whereabouts of Riyaz Bhatkal (founder of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen).
I replied that I didn’t know,” Shaikh claimed. He further added that when he was arrested on September 27, 2006, he was taken to Bhoiwada police station, where the other accused were also present. “We were tortured then as well. For two to three months, we did not even know for which case we had been arrested until one of the advocates told us about it.
After that, we told the court we were innocent and that we were being tortured.” While he is grateful to have been acquitted, Shaikh is not convinced that his troubles are over. “I am sure that if tomorrow there is any blast, the police will come running and arrest me. I was lucky to get out of this case but I don’t think that it will happen the next time,” he said.