At least one police claim on an alleged terror module busted last week in Bihar has sprung a hole.
The parents of Marghoob Ahmad Danish, the 24-year-old who was arrested as part of the swoop on the purported terror module, have contested the police claim that he is a terrorist and had been to Dubai, saying he did not have a passport and that he was being treated for a mental disorder.
“He does not have a passport, no bank account and he never went to Dubai. If we accept the version of the police that he worked in Dubai from 2006 to 2016, it would mean that he was just eight years old when he went there,” father Saifuddin Ahmad said at the family’s unfinished two-storey house at Munir Colony in Phulwarisharif on the outskirts of Patna.
The police had claimed that Marghoob had stayed in Dubai from 2006 to 2016 and come in touch with terrorists and terror groups. Marghoob is among five people arrested so far in the crackdown on the alleged terror module. The first arrests took place on July 11, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Patna. Marghoob was arrested later.
Contacted on Monday, Phulwarisharif station house officer (SHO) Ekrar Ahmad said: “It was a slip of the tongue that led us to say that Marghoob had worked in a foreign country. Actually, his father had worked there. Whether Marghoob is or was mentally ill is a matter under investigation. We will get to know about it later.”
Saifuddin did work for several years in Dubai as a storekeeper in a construction firm. He returned in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic and did not go back.
How the police could mix up the backgrounds of father and son in a case with grave charges is not clear. Asked, Patna SSP Manavjit Singh Dhillon told The Telegraph: “We are taking him (Marghoob) on remand tomorrow. Things will become clear accordingly.”
Saifuddin and his wife Nusrat Parveen said they had not slept for four days, spending the nights weeping and worrying about their son.
“My son cannot be a terrorist or a terror accomplice. He is mentally ill. He is afraid of even chickens and cats. He is afraid to venture out of our colony. We got him examined at AIIMS Patna in 2019. The doctors there suspected it to be a case of schizophrenia or manic depression,” Saifuddin told this newspaper.
The father produced a prescription attributed to Dr Rajeev Ranjan, an MD in psychiatry, of AIIMS Patna and issued in 2019.
“Marghoob was averse to visiting doctors and hospitals. We took him to AIIMS Patna for the first time by making some excuses. We wanted to take him there again after a few months, but he did not agree. Then the Covid-19 pandemic came in 2020 and the hospital was mostly reserved for the treatment of Covid patients,” Saifuddin said.
The first medicine listed in the prescription appears to be Sizodon and its generic name risperidone. This is a widely used anti-psychotic medicine meant to control the symptoms of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or irritability linked to autistic disorder. It does not cure these disorders but helps control and manage the symptoms.
When this newspaper tried to verify the authenticity of the prescription, AIIMS Patna psychiatry department assistant professor Dr Rajeev Ranjan said: “I will not discuss anything about any patient and compromise the confidentiality. We at AIIMS Patna do not compromise any patient’s medical history or confidentiality.”
The police had accused Marghoob of working as a WhatsApp admin of a subversive group, Ghazwa-e-Hind, and being connected to other anti-India groups that had members from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Yemen.
Asked about the allegation, the family members said they had no inkling about it. They said the youth could have been added to the WhatsApp groups by people unknown to him.
The family has a milk cooperative booth in the area and Nusrat sews and stitches to make both ends meet.
Marghoob is the second among three brothers and a sister. His elder brother is an engineer working in the IT sector in Bangalore for over five years now. Their younger brother completed an engineering course from Patna but opened a small tea and coffee joint that shut down during the pandemic.
Nusrat recalled that Marghoob never wanted to study. They managed to put him into a madarsa but he once jumped from its terrace in an attempt to run away and fractured his leg. He managed to pass his class X exam in the madarsa system.
“Marghoob became increasingly unwell. He would at times forget to wear clothes after taking a bath. He used to remove his clothes and stand naked when he became angry about anything. We had to send our daughter to stay with our relatives because of this. He was also addicted to his mobile phone and pornography. He would physically fight with us if we stopped him. We feel so ashamed while disclosing these things,” Nusrat said.
Neighbours said the youth was mentally ill. “He was like a child. He would believe anything anyone said to him. He would try to be friendly with people in the locality or those passing through, and would ask for their telephone numbers,” a neighbour said on the condition of anonymity.
Danapur additional superintendent of police Manish Kumar told reporters that the interrogation of the accused was in its last stages.
“We have got further documentary evidence and evidential trails. We will let you know whatever information we get further. We will try to take the accused on remand further,” Kumar said.