Mumbai: 16 years on, 2002 Ghatkopar blast accused arrested
He was picked up from Aurangabad by the Gujarat ATS and handed over to crime branch's unit X
Policemen produce the accused in court. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The Mumbai Crime Branch yesterday arrested Irfan Ahmad Qureshi in the 2002 Ghatkopar blast case. He was picked up from Aurangabad by the Gujarat ATS and handed over to crime branch's unit X. Eight other suspects tried under the POTA were acquitted in June 2005. Officers said Qureshi's name had been mentioned in the confessional statement of one of the eight.
Qureshi, who had left for Muscat on September 30, 2002, a few months before the blast, was among the 10 accused declared absconding. The crime branch wants to examine his exact role in the case. Officers also said the computer and other material seized from his residence in Aurangabad needed to be verified. He has been sent to police custody till May 14.
Saying he has no role in the case, Qureshi's lawyer told the POTA court that he had not gone absconding and had made 15 trips between Mumbai and Aurangabad, where he runs a company. The defence added that there was no material against him except for the confession of another accused, who has now been acquitted.
A blast had ripped through a BEST bus in Ghatkopar on December 2, 2002, killing two and injuring 49.The prosecution had alleged that the accused had links with al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba and had engineered the blast to avenge the post-Godhra riots.
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