Sammad interrogation proving to be a dud
The manner in which the probe on 26/11 attacks and Pune blast suspect Abdul Sammad Bhatkal is progressing, gives one the indication that he is being used just as a bait to reach Yaseen Bhatkal -- Sammad's step-brother -- and the prime accused in the Pune blast, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
Sammad, who was picked up by the Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad after he landed at the Mangalore airport from Dubai on May 24, is proving to be quite a dud for the investigators.
This is the second time that he is being picked up by the police. In 2008, he was picked up by the Bangalore police, but was later let off for want of evidence.
However, following the Pune blasts, the Mumbai ATS kept a close watch on him. Sammad, who was in the country at the time of the blasts, however, left for Dubai two days later, which increased the suspicion of the police.
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Image: Sammad being produced in a Mumbai court
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
'My son is innocent'
Sammad's family members, however, have not taken all these reports against him too kindly. They are at present camping in Mumbai and have vowed to fight his battle legally.
Sammad's mother Bibi Rehana said on Thursday, "My son is innocent and he had gone to Dubai looking for a job. He had come back only to renew his visa. The police are looking for Yaseen, and Sammad has only been detained for questioning."
Mohammed Yaqub Siddibapa, Sammad's uncle, said that he was waiting for his nephew at the Mangalore airport. "We got a bit worried when he was the only one who did not come out. When we asked the airport authorities, we got to know that he had been arrested."
"Why is he being made out to be a terrorist? He was a regular student and had gone to Dubai to work. He had returned only to renew his visa," Siddibapa said.
Image: Sammad's family members speaking to mediapersons on Thursday
'Would he attend a wedding if he was the mastermind?'
"The last time he had come down was to attend a wedding. He attended the same, and at the time of the Pune blasts, he was at home watching the live coverage on television with all of us," Sammad's family members further stated.
"If he was really the mastermind of the blast, why would he be sitting with us and also attend a wedding so casually?" the family members asked.
On Yaseen too, Sammad's mother said that the police are trying to tarnish his image. "He is 'absconding as he is scared of the police."
"The police have failed to apprehend him and hence they have picked up Sammad," she added.
"Sammad's hard disk has been checked regularly and he has always cooperated with the police, whenever they have called him. They gave him a clean-chit, and due to this he could fly to Dubai. Why is the media sentencing him without even knowing the facts?" she asked.
Image: Sammad (in blue shirt) attending a wedding on the day of the Pune blast, according to the family
'Sammad has been detained for routine questioning'
Further on Yaseen, she said that she does not know where he is. "He is not in touch with us for the past four years. But despite this, the police keeps coming to us for questioning," she said.
Intelligence Bureau sources, however, said that they have not come to any concrete conclusion yet. "Yaseen is an important member in this case, but Sammad has been taken in for routine questioning," they said.
Image: Sammad's passport photo