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Mulund blast arrests

Mumbai, April 12: Police today arrested three “former” members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) for trying to thwart the arrest of Saquib Nachan, the prime suspect in the Mulund train blast of March 13.

Five persons, all said to be Simi activists, were earlier arrested for engineering the Ghatkopar bus blast on December 2 last year. The blast had killed two and injured 30 persons.

Working in tandem with sleuths from the Mumbai Crime Branch, the Thane district police picked up Takki Iqbal Khot, Moti Iqbal Khot and Hazeeb Zuber Mullah in a surprise raid early this morning. They have been charged with rioting and hampering police work.

Though Thane district superintendent R. Pawar said the trio was trying to shield Nachan, wanted in connection with the blast which claimed 11 lives and injured 70, he refused to say if they were involved in the train bombing, too.

A metropolitan magistrate has remanded Khot and his accomplices in police custody for three days. Police contend that Khot and the others indulged in rioting and led a mob that forced them to retreat when they tried to arrest Nachan from his native village of Padgha on March 26.

The accused have also been charged with distributing “subversive literature”. A senior police officer in Mumbai said though they have been booked for rioting, their role in the Mulund train blasts, too, would be investigated. “There may be a connection somewhere. We are not giving up that premise,” he said.

Nachan, who dramatically surrendered before Bombay High Court on Thursday as he feared the police would kill him in a fake encounter, is now in police custody. The first accused to be apprehended in the Mulund blast case, Nachan had earlier spent 10 years in an Ahmedabad jail under Tada. He has denied his involvement with the Simi or the blast.

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