Yerwada jail murder: internal squabbling led to killing?

Police does not rule out a pre-planned murder


Geetanjali Minhas | June 9, 2012

Quateel Siddiqui, alleged Indian Mujahedeen operative killed is Yerwada Jail on Friday morning, is suspected to have been murdered by fellow inmates “for being part of anti-national activities”. According to the police, local gangsters Sharad Mohol and Amol Bhalerao charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and inmates of Anda Cells, strangulated Siddiqui with pajama strings where he was lodged in solitary confinement in one of the fifteen egg-shaped cells.

According to the police, these convicts are allowed to step out of their ‘Anda’ cells between 9.45am and 11.45 am every day. Between 10.30am and 10.45am on Friday, Bhalerao told another inmate that he had murdered Siddiqui for being involved in anti-national activities. This inmate then tipped off prison authorities who found Siddiqui murdered inside his cell.

Police does not rule out a pre-planned murder.

Siddiqui was handed over by Delhi Police to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on May 3 for investigation into his alleged role in planting a bomb outside Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple on the day of German Bakery blast in Pune in 2010. According to the police, Siddiqui's attempt to plant a bomb in the temple failed as a flower vendor refused to place a bag of explosives inside the temple. He then travelled to Mumbai and disposed of the timer in the sea after removing its battery.

After his police custody ended on May 28, Siddiqui was remanded in judicial custody and lodged in one of the 15 Anda cells in Yerwada Jail. He was also alleged to be key accused in blasts that took place in Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, Jama Masjid, Delhi, and Pune’s famous German Bakery. A resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, he was first arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in November 2011.

After ordering a CID inquiry and suspending jail superintendent SV Khatavkar, Maharashtra home minister RR Patil has also asked ATS to look into it the mob angle of the murder. 

ATS, in their chargesheet filed in the 2011 triple bomb blasts last month, expressed fear that the link between mafia and terrorist outfits continues to this day.

Siddiqui was to have been produced in a Pune court on Friday afternoon. As per reports, ATS did not want to extend his custody further and proposed to allow the Delhi Police to take him back.

When contacted, Maharashtra DIG Swati Sathe refused to comment on the issue.




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