The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Train blast accused surrenders

Mumbai, April 10: The alleged principal conspirator in the Mulund train blast, which killed 11 and injured 70, today surrendered before Bombay High Court amid great drama.

Saquib Nachan, charged with engineering the train blast that rocked Mumbai on March 13 and declared absconding by police, said he was not on the run after committing the crime but hiding in his native village, Padgha, fearing the police would kill him in a fake encounter.

Nachan, who had been declared absconding by the police and was arrested today, is the first accused in the incident to be apprehended.

Moments before Nachanís dramatic entry and arrest, Justices Ranjana Desai and S.K. Shah were hearing a petition by the accusedís father, alleging that the police were planning to kill him in a fake encounter.

It has not been easy for the police to get hold of Nachan. On March 27, a police team that had gone to arrest him in Padgha, in Shahpur Taluka, was reportedly forced to retreat by an angry mob that did not allow them to enter the locality.

Mubin Solkar, Nachanís lawyer, said the day after the police team came to arrest his client, three alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists were killed in an encounter in Mumbaiís western suburb of Goregaon.

Solkar said the same police team had been involved in the encounter. ďMy client was ready to surrender and cooperate with the police,Ē the lawyer added.

Nachan has spent 10 years in an Ahmedabad jail for an offence listed under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. However, Solkar asserted that Nachanís history cannot be held against him while dealing with the Mulund blast case. He added that Nachan is not involved in the blast and that he has dissociated himself from the outlawed Studentsí Islamic Movement of India (Simi).

However, police refutes this claim.

In the Ghatkopar blast, which preceded the Mulund incident, the police have filed a 1,100-page chargesheet against five persons. Two persons had died in the Ghatkopar blasts of December 2 last year and more than 30 had been injured.

The accused will be tried under the anti-terrorism legislation. They have been charged with indulging in terrorist activities and harbouring links with organisations such as Simi and Lashkar.

The conspiracy, according to the police, was hatched in the room of Mohammed Abdul Mateen, a doctor attached to the JJ Hospital.

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