Blasts at UP courts joint work of Huji, IM: ATS

The cases of serial blasts in the courts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi — the withdrawal of which is being reportedly considered by the Akhilesh Yadav government — have acquired a new twist with the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) saying the blasts were jointly carried out by Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islam and Indian Mujahideen.

So far, only HuJI men were said to be involved in the blasts which took place on November 23, 2007. But in its submission before the Allahabad High Court, which is hearing a petition seeking speedy investigation in the terror cases in Varanasi, the ATS has also named seven Azamgarh-based alleged operatives of Indian Mujahideen.

The ATS, which is investigating the blast cases, has made the disclosure in a letter attached with the affidavit filed by Varanasi police before the High Court. The letter gives the status of the cases and the names of the accused which came into light during the investigation.

Two of the IM operatives — Atif Ameen and Sajid Chhota, both of Sanjarpur in Sarai Mir area of Azamgarh — were killed in the Batla House encounter on September 19, 2008 while three others, namely Ariz alias Junaid, Mirza Shadab Beig and Saifur-rehman Ansari, are on the run since their names came to light in several blasts in 2008.

Others named by the ATS are Mohammad Saif, who is lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi, and Mohammad Arif who is lodged in Ahmedabad jail and is facing trial there.

These IM men are also allegedly involved in serial blasts in Gujarat, Jaipur, Delhi and Mumbai local trains.

While the blast in Lucknow did not cause much damage, five persons died in Faizabad and nine in Varanasi.

Only the alleged HuJI men involved in the blasts have been arrested. Tariq Kazmi of Azamgarh, Khalid Mujahid of Jaunpur and Sajjadur-rehman and Mohammad Akhtar of Jammu and Kashmir are facing trial in the case related to the Faizabad court blast.

In the case related to the Lucknow blast, Tariq, Khalid and Akhtar are facing trial while Sajjadur Rehman was discharged. In the Varanasi blast case, investigation is still on.

The ATS has said that in the Faizabad case, the role of IM operatives Mirza Shadab Beig and Saifur Rehman Ansari came to light during investigation. It was found that Shadab and Saifur had planted the bombs at Faizabad court and HuJI operatives had played a role in providing the bombs.

In Lucknow, IM operatives Mohammad Arif and Ariz alias Junaid, along with four HuJI men, planted two bombs, the ATS has said. The ATS has said that one more IM man, Mohammad Saif, was involved in the conspiracy of Lucknow blast.

In the Varanasi blast, the ATS investigation has found involvement of IM operatives Atif, Sajid Chhota and Mohammad Saif.

The ATS has stated that they had served warrant-B challans, obtained from a Lucknow court, for bringing Mohammad Saif from Tihar jail in Delhi, but he has not been sent so far. Also, the ATS has been waiting for Mohammad Arif, who lodged in Ahmedabad jail, in order to initiate court proceedings against him in Lucknow.

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