Arrested Mumbai sharpshooter Nur Mohammad Sheikh on Monday described Aftab Ansari and Asif Reza Khan as “friends’’ and told the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) team that he was introduced to the latter by a jihadi during arms training in Kashmir valley.
According to Mumbai crime branch officers, Sheikh was in the group, along with Asif Reza Khan, that underwent training in the Valley for 15 days a few years ago. Deputy inspector-general of police (CID) Raj Kanojia and deputy superintendent of police Tanmoy Roy Choudhuri are in Mumbai and interrogated Sheikh, alias Shahbaz, on Monday. Last week, Sheikh was arrested in Malad on charges of being involved in blast cases.
Sheikh was in the group of four that waylaid Khadim’s vice-chairman Parthapratim Roy Burman at Tiljala’s CN Roy Road on July 25, 2001. On Monday, he admitted to having fired at Roy Burman when the industrialist resisted efforts to drag him out of his car. Sheikh told the sleuths on Monday that Aslam had fired the other shot.
Sheikh also said he had never been to Calcutta before he was offered the “job’’ by Ansari. “Once the deal was finalised, I visited Calcutta thrice to familiarise myself with the terrain,’’ he said. Asif took him around Tiljala. While in Calcutta, Sheikh stayed in a central Calcutta lodge and also spent a day at Rabindranath Das’ ashram in Tiljala.