Men who helped piece the ’93 blasts puzzle

Badshah Khan may not have the trappings of his Bollyood namesake, but he is a hero in no lesser sense. Today, he might be eeking a living selling sheekh kebabas and parathas in suburban Versova, but had it not been for him, the investigations into the March 12, 1993 blasts would have taken a different course.

It's been 14 years since then, but Badshah Khan, now 40, still lives with fear and anxiety. "My family and children still face threats. The government has done nothing to help me," says the man who spilled the beans and diverted the course of action into the blasts. (The lack of a Witness Protection Programme in the country is what dims the possibility of having more Badshah Khans come to the fore.)

Back in 1993, despite the scores of arrests, the conspiracy part of the blasts could not be concretised until Badshah Khan came into the picture. Rakesh Maria the cop who investigated the case is still impressed with Khan's sharpness and memory. While Maria's skills are his investigative powers he commends Khan for his memory, who put together all the pieces of the puzzle—from the diversion of the Islamabad-bound PIA flight to Lahore for an ailing passenger to recollecting the exact names, numbers and graphic details of the blast kingpin and Tiger Memon's gameplan.

"The incident is still fresh and vivid in my memory as if it happened yesterday," says Maria, who was 35 at the time and held forte as a deputy commissioner of police (DCP), zone-IV. He was initially drawn into the investigation by sheer coincidence but his skills soon got him the top job. Rakesh Maria had unravelled the blasts conspiracy in no time.

The case was cracked in 48 hours flat courtesy an unexploded scooter at Dadar and an abandoned Maruti van at Worli.

... contd.

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