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Blast witnesses hostile

Ranchi, July 15: Five Chakla villagers from Ormanjhi block of Ranchi district today refused to record their statement in a local court in connection with the Patna serial blasts of October 27 last year.

The National Investigation Agency, probing the blasts during the Narendra Modi’s rally, wanted to produce them as witnesses against suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative and Chakla resident Muzibullah Ansari, who was arrested from Ranchi on May 21 along with one of the main accused of the case Haider Ali.

Nevertheless, the agency managed to produce two prime witnesses — Manzar Imam and Sameem Akthar, the owner and the caretaker, respectively, of the Hindpiri-based lodge where Muzibullah used to stay — before the court of first class magistrate S.B. Ojha. Both recorded their statements on camera.

The five villagers — Mohammed Zikrullah Ansari, a BSNL employee and elder brother of Muzibullah, Taukir Ansari, Faiz Ahmed, Iftekhar and Abu Rehan — were brought to the court to record their statements.

While Zikrullah and Rehan remained outside the court room, the others told the judge that they didn’t want to be the witnesses in this case as they knew nothing about suspicious activities of Muzibullah and the Patna blasts.

Hundreds of angry Chakla residents also assembled on the premises of the court.

According to a villager, Mohammed Sabir, the NIA had questioned the five in the past. They were asked to turn up before NIA officials on Sunday evening. Yesterday, they were summoned again. “Today, we were told that they would have to record their statements in the Patna blast case. They know nothing,” Sabir said.

The NIA has a different stand on their alleged proximity with Muzibullah. According to NIA, they had provided a SIM card to him and were aware of his activities.

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