Thursday, May 23, 2013

Appeal to Citizens of Mumbai and India (A Matter of Conscience)

Appeal to Citizens of Mumbai and India (A Matter of Conscience)

May 23, 2013
Dear Friends.

Firstly I would urge all those who read this mail, to send a few words in response. It is unbearable to receive no replies at all...

For some time now, the unprofessional conduct of our investigating agencies in general but especially in cases related to investigations on "terror" have been surfacing, albeit in a sporadic manner. Intrepid journalist Ashish Khetan with his indomitable courage and commitment to precision and detail has unearthed an Investigation that raises serious questions about the unprofessional and rank biased conduct of the Maharashtra ATS. Senior officers with close patronage to politicians have been found guilty of the most unspeakable abuses.  We do urge that you have a look. The scenario is quite worrisome and frightening. I enclose the articles below. 

For those interested in exploring the issue further, do visit his web portal, GULAIL. And for those interested in reading his Letter Petition to the Bombay High Court, do write in... 
Yesterday at the Mumbai event more than 25 media persons (print and television were present. Reports have appeared only in The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror and ADC. Inquilab, Rashtriya Sahara, Urdu Times prominent front page coverage. Though reporters from the TOI, Indian Express, DNA, Mid-Day, Hindustan Times were present -- no reports appeared. HT had however carried two stories abut the Delhi event last Saturday. (Some articles are attached)

A word for other friends from all walks of life, citizens of Mumbai, who till a decade back actively engaged in issues of conscience. Few were present at the meeting yesterday. What worries us is the sense of despair and alienation that must be felt by the sections who are at the receiving end of this treatment by sections of the establishment - be it Muslims today, Dalit activists tomorrow or adivasis all the time .... Have we lost our soul? Or do we see this as a problem that does not affect us ? If citizens of our city are treated this way by a police that feels it is unaccountable, this could spell danger and doom for civilized co-existence.

Quite apart from the rank un-professionalism and bias that this Expose by ASHISH KHETAN/GULAIL reveals, the sense of despair and alienation that such relentless treatment must ensure is also something that should concern us all. I do recall doing a similar expose of the 1993 Blast investigations when the Crime Branch office and the Mahim Police station were locales for the most unspeakable torture and treatment of family members of some accused and other alleged accused..Even women and children had not been spared..... 

Twenty years down the line, little has changed; if at all things have gotten much much worse. 
Yours, In Faith and Hope
From stenography to journalism—Ashish Khetan
Special Correspondent
Damning evidence against ATS operations
While the rest of the crime reporters were busy taking down what the police or Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) was putting out in Mumbai, journalist Ashish Khetan formerly with Tehelka, says he struck out on his own to go beyond the official versions of “terrorists”and terror cases. His year-long investigation into three major cases of bomb blasts has exposed horrific truths about the way in which the ATS, the Maharashtra police and police from other states have functioned with impunity and virtually condemned and tortured 21 young men because they were Muslims.
Khetan’s investigative journalism portal aptly named Gulail (or slingshot in English) has “ unearthed internal documents from more than half a dozen anti-terror agencies that show that the State has been knowingly prosecuting innocent Muslims for terror cases and keeping the evidence of their innocence from the courts.”
At a press conference on Wednesday to present his investigation and screen a film with candid interviews of accused Muslim men, Mr Khetan also said he had sent a letter petition to the Bombay high court with nearly 400 pages of evidence in the form of official investigation and interrogation reports of the accused men and other documents which clearly indicate huge discrepancies. The petition said that his research into the July 11, 2006, train blasts, the Malegaon 2006 blasts and the Pune German Bakery blasts of February 2010 show that the ATS has deliberately created bogus evidence, extracted false confessions by the most inhuman torture, planted explosives in the houses of the young men and implicated innocent youth. In the name of internal security, the ATS and other agencies were misleading the courts, Khetan said.
Senior police officials have been named by the young men in their interviews, where they speak of torture and abuse and pressure to turn approver for large sums of money. A senior police officer even expressed his helplessness and said it was important for them to find some accused since they were unable to crack the case. There are different versions of the same case notably Malegaon 2006 where the NIA has just filed a chargesheet. Seven of the nine men arrested earlier were released on bail in 2011.
Khetan said he wasn’t out to prove anyone’s guilt but expose the farcical criminal investigation which also reflected deepset anti Muslim prejudice. What is serious is that one of these men Himayat Baig has been given the death sentence for the Pune German Bakery blasts when clearly police had found evidence of another man’s involvement. The case of Qateel Sheikh who died in a high security Pune prison just before he was to testify in a Delhi court is not longer a mystery going by what Khetan’s documents show. The ATS arrested Himayat Baig from Udgir and claimed he had carried out the German Bakery blast. However, a year later the Delhi police arrested Qatil Siddiqui and Interrogation Reports obtained by Khetan show he is linked to the Pune blast. These reports were not produced in the court which finally gave Baig the death sentence. Police then tweaked reports to show Sheikh’s involvement in another case.
Presenting all the facts, Khetan has asked the high court to order an independent commission of inquiry into the conduct of the investigating officers, action against officers guilty of violations and relief for the victims of such operations.

State ATS falsely implicated many Muslim youths in 7/11 train blast: Ashish Khetan
Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Zuber Ansari
Making serious allegations against Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Ashish Khetan, a senior journalist working with various media houses has said that many Muslim youths have been falsely implicated by these agencies in several blast cases.

He also alleged that three IPS officers, including two former city police commissioners, A.N. Roy and K.P. Raghuvanshi, had tortured many youth and forced them into confessing to crimes by threatening their parents and family members.  

Screening a video at the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) on Wednesday, in which he claimed that in at least three cases of terror, the July 11, 2006 Mumbai local train blasts, the 2006 Malegaon blasts and the Pune Best Bakery case of February 2010, the Maharashtra ATS had deliberately created bogus evidence, extracted false confessions by the most inhuman torture, planted explosives in the houses, to implicate innocent Muslim youth.

The video documentary reveals that torture, which included water-boarding, narcotic injections and illegal detention, was used as means of extracting false confessions and forcing innocents to turn approvers.

In the video, one Dr Tariq Ansari from Kurla, who was detained in the 7/11 blast case, is shown saying, “They picked me up from my Kurla residence and took me to Nagpada office of the ATS. There, A N Roy started beating me with his shoes and later offered me Rs.25 lakh to confess. Later, some ATS officers asked me to confess if I wanted to see my family members including my brothers alive.”

Another victim, who is an IT professional, is seen in the video saying, “We were taken to Bangalore Forensic Laboratory were one Mrs. Malini, who was the Director of the laboratory started torturing us physically and asked me to confess because she was under pressure from ATS, and if I did not do so then she would kill me with some medicine.”

It was the then ATS chief, Hemant Karkare, who changed the view towards Muslim youth and proved that Hindus could also be involved in blasts, after arresting many persons who belonged to Hindu outfits, added Khetan. 

We have already forwarded letters to the National Human Rights Commission and Minority Commission to look into the matter and are soon going to file a petition in this regard. “My intention is not to pass a verdict of guilt against certain accused. But it is only to highlight the blatant discrepancies and contradictions in terror investigations,” claimed Khetan.

Agencies tinkered with evidence in terror cases, claims scribe
Mumbai Mirror Bureau TWEETS @_mumbaimirror
 In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, investigative reporter Ashish Khetan has stated that different investigating agencies across India produced different versions of same terror cases and altered the evidence to suit their version.
At least in 3 cases prosecuted by ATS Maharashtra—July 11, 2006 Mumbai local train blasts, 2006 Malegaon blasts and Pune German Bakery case of February 2010—ATS deliberately created bogus evidence, extracted false confessions, planted explosives in the houses of the accused and implicated innocent youth, read the letter.
Khetan has uploaded the interaction he had with some of accused in the 7/11blastcaseonhiswebsite, Interestingly, these interviews were conducted in the court premises. Khetan said the ATS officials often tried to bribe the accused.
    “The interview was conducted in the court premises with a spy camera. Accused Ehtasham Siddiqui, Majid Mohammed, Kamal Ansari and Naved Khan have alleged that they were lured by ATS officials to become approvers. They were offered Rs 25 lakh,” said Khetan.
    In the interview, the accused claimedthatthecopsofferedthemjobs but they declined. Khetan was also informed that the then ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi asked the accused to help police convict others. “The accused signed the confession when they were threatened of dire consequences,” he said. On the website, he has also categorically pointed out various loopholes in the investigation.
    Meanwhile, in the letter to the CJI, Khetan has stated that in the 7/11 case, a chargesheet was filed against 13 suspects belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). As many as 15 others were named as absconding on December 1, 2006. The accused included various professionals.
    In2008,however,fresharrestswere made and Indian Mujahideen (IM) claimed responsibility for all attacks between 2005 and 2008. It led to the arrest of Sadiq Sheikh by Crime Branch, the letter stated. The confessions by Sheikhandothersclearlyshowthatthe people earlier prosecuted by the ATS had no connection with the local train bombings of 2006.
    “These confessions contain a meticulously detailed description of more than eight terror strikes that Sheikh andhisaccompliceshadallegedlyplotted and executed since 2003. But curiously,Sheikhandhisaccompliceswere chargesheeted in only those blast cases in which the investigation was still not completed. Hyderabad blasts of 2007, Ahmedabad and Surat blasts of 2008 and Delhi blasts of 2008 were some of the cases in which the IM members were chargesheeted,” said the letter.
    “Revelations regarding any blast before 2007 were ignored because those cases were claimed to have been solved. Sheikh and a few others were discharged in 2009, as ATS claimed they did not have enough evidence against them,” said Khetan.
'महाराष्ट्र पुलिस बनाती है आतंकी'
नवभारत टाइम्स | May 23, 2013, 05.30AM IST
रिपोर्टर॥ मुंबई।।
देश में हुए कई सीरियल बम ब्लास्ट की जांच करने वाली महाराष्ट्र एटीएस एक खास वर्ग के लोगों को निशाना बनाती है। इन लोगों की भूमिका किसी भी बम ब्लास्ट में प्रत्यक्ष या अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से नहीं है। दबाव की वजह से एटीएस देश भर से निर्दोष लोगों को पकड़कर कोर्ट में पेश कर देती है। इतना ही नहींबम बलास्ट में शामिल होने की बात कबूल करवाने के लिए एटीएस निर्दोष नौजवानों को जेल की सजापैसों और मुंबई में फ्लैट दिलाने का लालच भी देती है। पकडे़ गए आरोपियों की पत्नियों के साथ यौन उत्पीड़न की धमकी भी दी जाती है। यह खुलासा बुधवार को इंडियन मर्चेंट चेंबर में एक कॉन्फ्रेंस में वरिष्ठ पत्रकार आशीष खेतान ने किया।
गुनाह कबूल करवाने का दबाव
आशीष खेतान ने मीडिया के सामने पेश किए गए दर्जनों विडियो क्लिप में एटीएस द्वारा कि  गए आतंकी हमलों की जांच का खुलासा किया है। उन्होंने जुलाई 2006 में हुए लोकल ट्रेन बम ब्लास्ट मामले में पकडे़ गए 13 आरोपियों में से 9 आरोपियों के स्ंिटग ऑपरेशन दिखाएजिसमें आरोपियों ने उस समय के पूर्व कमिश्नर एनरॉयएटीएस चीफ केपीरघुवंशीपुलिस अधिकारी नवल बजाज और एटीएस जांच अधिकारी दिनेश कदम की भूमिका पर सवाल खडे़ किए। इन फुटेज में आरोपी युवक बताते हैं कि उन्हें एटीएस द्वारा हर दिन दो बार पुलिस स्टेशन में टॉर्चर किया जाता था। उनके गुप्तांगों में एक किस्म के तेल का इंजेक्शन लगाया जाता है।

कतिल मरा नहींमारा गया
फरवरी, 2010 को पुणे की जर्मन बेकरी ब्लास्ट में एटीएस द्वारा पक ड़े गए आरोपी कतिल सिद्दीकी और हिमायत बेग को खेतान ने निर्दोष बताया। खेतान के मुताबिकहिमायत बेग को निर्दोष साबित करने वाला एकमात्र गवाह कतिल सिद्दीकी ही था। विशेष अदालत में गवाही की एक रात उसकी ऑर्थर रोड जेल की अति सुरक्षित मानी जाने वाली अंडा सेल में मौत हो गई। कतिल मरा नहींमारा गयाक्योंकि एटीएस पर हिमायत बेग को दोषी ठहराने का दबाव था।
एक गुनाह के दो आरोपी
में हुए मालेगांव बम ब्लास्ट मामले में महाराष्ट्र एटीएस के चीफ केपीरघुवंशी ने कुछ मुसलमान युवकों को स्वयं अरेस्ट किया था। एटीएस ने इस मामले में मोअली और आसिफ खान को अरेस्ट कियाजबकि एनआईए ने हिंदू संगठन से जुड़े लोगों को। खेतान का आरोप है कि एक ही गुनाह के लिए पुलिस ने दो अलग-अलग आरोपियों को क्यों प्लांट कियाइस संबंध में जब एनबीटी ने नवल बजाज और केपीरघुवंशी से उनका पक्ष जानना चाहातो बजाज का सेल फोन इन कमिंग बंद और रघुवंशी का स्विच्ड ऑफ मिला।

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