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Sinister cell: How Delhi police created fake terrorists

It was supposed to fight terror, instead the Delhi police’s Special Cell started creating fake terrorists. It must now answer to the law.

On 18 September, the NIA declared the cell’s informer Sabir Khan Pathan a fugitive and announced a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh for him.

The agency is investigating the arrest of Liaquat Shah, a surrendered militant from Kashmir, for terrorism. It has accused nine senior officers of the cell of framing Shah and asked the home ministry to launch an inquiry against them.

The officers had allegedly used Pathan to plant explosives which were later shown to have been recovered from Shah.

The special cell might have quite a bit of explaining to do when Shah’s case is next heard by a Delhi court in early November. It’s about time too, given how many high-profile cases of “foiled terrorist attacks” have fallen flat.

The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association has compiled a list of 24 such cases in a recently released book, Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers Of A Very Special Cell’.

It’s not even the first such list. In 2012, the JTSA had detailed several “terror cases” allegedly cooked up by the special cell.

The report had caused a furore, forcing the police to come out with a rebuttal: the cases brought by the special cell had a conviction rate of 68%. This claim wasn’t true as an RTI request later revealed the conviction rate to be less than 30%.

Here, we list five cases from the JTSA’s new book, a copy of which was provided exclusively to Catch.

The cases are bound by two common threads. One, all the victims claim to have been picked up illegally and tortured for confessions. Two, the special cell has provided bizarre explanations when questioned about the sequence of events or evidence.

01: Parvez Ahmad Radoo

The case

In late September 2006, the Special Cell received information that Parvez Ahmad Radoo alias Raju, a Jaish-e-Mohammad operative from Sopore in Kashmir was coming to Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi to deliver a consignment of explosives. They laid a trap and arrested him.

They recovered a cardboard box stuffed with 3 kilos of a brown, granulated, oil-based explosive, a timer, an electric detonator and Rs 10 lakh hawala money.

Raju’s arrest thwarted a major terror network run by Mohammed Sheikh, a JeM commander who was supposed to supervise the transfer of explosives.

In October, the police raided certain locations in Pune to bust the hawala racket that had routed the money to Raju.

They couldn’t find Raju’s associate, however, because his shop was closed for Basant Panchmi.

The flaws

The police couldn’t furnish a single piece of evidence linking Raju with the JeM.

Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who had led the arrest, was left out of the list of witnesses. The court found “something wrong in this”.

The police gave contradictory statements about the nature of the evidence recovered. Also, the wire supposedly recovered from Raju was never found while the timer turned out to be a pencil detonator.

Basant Panchmi is never in October. The festival usually falls in January or February.

The outcome

After spending seven years in jail, Parvez, a post graduate in zoology who had even got a character certificate from the J&K government, was acquitted of all terrorism charges.

To be continue tomorrow…