Ayodhya, July 11: Two brothers of an accused in a Sabarmati Express blast case in 2000 ' two years before the Godhra carnage ' have been detained in connection with last week’s Ayodhya attack.
The brothers were picked up on the basis of information provided by two former members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India.
The detained duo has been identified as Zameer and Tanveer. Their brother Mohammed Aqeel was accused of planting a bomb in the last bogie of the Varanasi-Ahmedabad Sabarmati Express at a small station near Faizabad.
Ten persons were killed in the blast on the eve of Independence Day.
Aqeel, who was arrested from Agra a month later, has confessed but he has not been sentenced yet. He is now lodged in a Lucknow jail.
The task force probing the attack is pinning hopes on Zameer and Tanveer, who have been detained but not arrested.
Aqeel was also questioned this evening in Lucknow, where his brothers and wife Rukaiya Begum were taken.
Police claimed that the brothers and the woman had made a statement that two of the five militants killed in Ayodhya had called on Aqeel. But they denied any direct association between themselves and the militants.
According to the purported statement, the three said Aqeel got to know the militants through “contacts”. The police said they are now trying to track down the contacts. The statement said to have been recorded by the police is admissible in court only if it is corroborated by accompanying evidence.
Rukaiya’s statement, which has not been made public, is also significant as she hails from a village one of the militants has been traced to.
The police have also picked up six persons from Ambedkarnagar, a district adjoining Faizabad, where the militants had reportedly stayed for two days.
The task force had carried out several raids since yesterday when it learnt that the five militants had at least four accomplices.
The raids were also prompted by a lead from Yunus, the driver from Akbarpur who had brought the militants to Faizabad, said director-general of police Yashpal Singh.
“Yunus first told the police that he had brought all five to Faizabad. But after two days of his detention, his statement turned out to be false,” he said. Yunus said four militants had come in his car and the fifth joined them in Faizabad from another village in Akbarpur. The five then took an autorickshaw to Ayodhya.
The force raided a village linked to the fifth militant. “We are not disclosing the name of the village,” an officer said.