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Why police lost the blast case

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June 18, 2005 23:42 IST

Following the acquittal of eight Ghatkoper bomb blast accused, theĀ  Maharashtra government and the police are preparing to appeal in upper court against their acquittal.

The accused are allegedly connected with Lashkar-E-Toiba, Jaish-E-Mohammed and Student Islamic Movement of India, and planted a bomb in a bus (route 416, from Amrutnagar to Ghatkoper), in Mumbai on December 2, 2002, as retaliation for the Gujarat riots.

Two persons were killed and 49 injured.

The acquittal is a big blow to the Mumbai crime branch.

But the investigating agency never had a firm grip on the case.

Their troubles began when one of the accused Kwaja Yunus mysteriously disappeared from police custody.

Police claim that Yunus ran away from their custody, while being taken to Ahmednagar for investigation.

But, Yunus' father filed a complaint and said he was killed in police custody.

He alleged that On January 7, 2003, and police burned his dead body at Parner, near Ahmednagar, and created a false story.

The court ordered an investigation into the allegations.

Maharashtra's Criminal Investigation Department investigated the Yunus case and arrested some police officers, including high profile crime branch officer Senior Police Inspector Praful Bhosle and Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze in Yunus murder case. They were handling Ghatkoper bomb blast investigation case.

Second, the police had originally listed 29 accused in the case. But they managed to arrest only 19 accused. Out of this, one died in Hyderabad.

Another aspect was that during the trail, the prosecution requested to discharge 10 accused out of 19, as there was no sufficient evidence to prove their involvement.

The trial of the case began in August 2003, evidences were recorded and 148 witnesses were examined.

The bus conductor, who was main witness in the case, turned hostile. It was a major setback for the police since they had informed the court that the conductor had given a statement saying he saw the accused on the bus before the blast.

Vijay Singh in Mumbai
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