Monday, February 9, 2009

Sachin, Ganguly kidnap plotters tried to kill Kalam

Six Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI) terrorists, accused of plotting to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, had

also attempted to assassinate A P J Abdul Kalam during his visit to Patna in 2001, the prosecution told a Delhi court on Monday.
"They (terrorists) also tried to assassinate A P J Abdul Kalam (the then scientific adviser to the defence ministry), when he visited Patna, but their plan could not succeed due to lack of logistic support there," public prosecutor Anita Hooda submitted before Additional Sessions Judge Pinki.

The chilling disclosure was made by Tariq Mohammed, a Pakistan-based HuJI militant, during his custodial interrogation, the prosecutor said while continuing with final arguments on the third day.

The arrested HuJI men were working at the instructions of their Pakistan-based masters, Asif Raza Khan, Umar Sheikh and Azam Cheema, she said.

"The leaders wanted them to abduct Sachin Tendulkar for ransom to raise funds for their terrorist activities. They also wanted to kidnap Saurav for the purpose of securing the release of their two men lodged in jails," the prosecutor, while referring to the chargesheet, submitted.

Besides attempting to kill Kalam, the accused also had a plan to "carry out explosions" at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, the prosecutor said.

The terrorist acts were planned to secure the release of HUJI militants Asrullah Lagrial and Abdul Rahim, lodged in Jodhpur and Tihar jail, respectively, the prosecutor said.

Narrating the sequence of events, the prosecutor said the police on January 31, 2002 arrested the mastermind Jalaluddin, a Bangladesh national, from Nizamuddin Railway station.

Jalaluddin, who later escaped and was declared a proclaimed offender, had led to the arrest of co-accused, besides divulging the conspiracy to execute a series of terror attacks, she said.

The advancing of final arguments remained inconclusive and would continue on February 19.

Earlier, the prosecutor had claimed that the terrorist outfit was formed by Pakistan national Maulana Masood Azhar, a terrorist who was freed by India in exchange of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814.

All the accused, who were arrested in January, February and March in 2002, have been booked under various provisions of the POTA, the IPC and the Explosives Act, carrying a maximum sentence of the death penalty.

They are charged with hatching conspiracy to wage a war against the state and keeping explosives.

Besides three Pakistan-based accused, Tariq Mohammed, Ashfaq Ahmed and Ashad Khan, the others are — Mufti Israr, Ghulam Qadir Bhatt and Ghulam Mohd Dar.
Ansari and Sabauddin were arrested last year in connection with the 2007 New Year eve attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh.

The lone terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, arrested in the November 26 terror strikes is also presently in police custody till February 13.
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