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India and terror: The BIG catches of 2013

December 24, 2013 13:27 IST

Proceedings related to terror masterminds Yasin Bhatkal and Abdul Karim Tunda in 2013 hogged the limelight in Delhi courts, which brought down the curtains in the Batla House encounter case by giving life term to a suspected terrorist of the Indian Mujahideen module.

While the conviction and sentencing of Shahzad Ahmed in the sensational 2008 Batla House encounter case brought smiles on the faces of the Delhi police officials, the transfer of case relating to suspected Hizbul militant Liyaqat Shah to the National Investigation Agency and his subsequent release on bail left them red faced.

The branding of Liyaqat as a big catch by special cell of the Delhi police later on turned out to be damp squib as the Jammu and Kashmir police insisted that he was one of those who ex-filtrated in 1990s and returned to India to surrender under the state's rehabilitation policy.

Even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah came out in open and criticised the Delhi police for arresting Liyaqat and under pressure from all the quarters, the Ministry of Home Affairs transferred the case to National Investigation Agency.

Forty-five-year-old Liyaqat was released on bail after spending nearly two months in jail, by the court which had said NIA's probe confirmed there was no substantial linkage regarding his involvement in the conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in the national capital, as claimed by Delhi Police.

IM co-founder Bhatkal, 30, was perhaps one of the biggest catches for the probe agencies as he is wanted in over 60 terror cases across the country. Carrying a reward of Rs 35 lakh, he was arrested along with his close aide Asadullah Akhtar by NIA from the Indo-Nepal border on August 28.

Similarly, top Lashkar-e-Taiba bomb expert Tunda, one of the 20 terrorists India had asked Pakistan to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, was caught by the Delhi police after being on the run for nearly two decades. He is suspected to be involved in 40 bombings across the country.

The word "D" again came to the fore in a trial court in New Delhi with the police filing chargesheet against Dawood Ibrahim, his aide Chhota Shakeel and others for their alleged involvement in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing case, in which suspended cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were also arrested.

Close on the heels of Bhatkal and Tunda, the case of Abu Jundal, suspected LeT terrorist and one of the masterminds of the 26/11 attacks, also made headlines this year when he claimed in the court that the NIA and the Maharashtra police had forced him to sign some documents and blank papers.

Jundal, who is also known as Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari and is currently lodged in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail, is facing trial in the Delhi court in connection with an alleged conspiracy to launch terror strikes in the country.

During the year, a special NIA court took cognisance on a chargesheet against Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and nine others, of whom eight are declared proclaimed offenders, for allegedly receiving funds of about Rs 80 crore from Pakistan for carrying out terror activities across India.

The courts also heard several other sensational terror cases, including 2012 Israeli diplomat attack case in which journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi is facing prosecution.

The Delhi police faced the ire of the court in a case in which the judge acquitted two suspected HM terrorists, Javed Ahmed Tantray and Ashiq Ali Bhatt, arrested for allegedly plotting terror strikes ahead of Independence Day in 2009 at the instance of HM chief Syed Salahuddin.

The court came down heavily on the investigators in the case, saying the entire case was planted.

At the fag end of the year, two terrorists of Lashkar-e-Tayiba's Mewat module were arrested by a special cell for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror strikes in the national capital.

In 2013, the court also commenced the trial against Wasim Akram Malik, arrested for his alleged role in September 2011 the Delhi high court blast, by recording statements of prosecution witnesses including co-accused-turned-approver Amir Abbas Dev.

The blast at the high court's reception on September 7, 2011 had killed 15 people and left over 70 injured.

Image: Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, who was on India's most-wanted list, was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border on August 28

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