I was tortured before arrest: 13/7 blasts accused to court
MUMBAI :Haroon Rashid Naik — accused of playing a key role in the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts claims he was subjected to physical torture before he was formally arrested in a fake currency case on August 22, 2011.
Naik also refuted the prosecution’s claim that he was associated with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and said he did not know of such an organisation.
At an ongoing trial in the fake currency case against Naik and two others — Asrar Ahmad and Azhar-Ul- Islam — Naik last week examined himself as a witness and deposed before the court. The prosecution said the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had recovered 161 Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) worth Rs97,500 on August 22, 2011. The agency said Naik was arrested from a guest house in Dadar on August 22, 2011. The agency told the court terrorists use fake currency to commit acts of terror and that it is smuggled from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Naik, however, denied the prosecution’s claims and said ATS officers had falsely accused him of being member of SIMI. “They asked me if I was a member of SIMI. I didn’t know anything about it. They asked me if I knew any friends who were associated with it. I told them many times I didn’t know anything about it,” Naik told the court.
Naik said he was picked up by the police at the airport, when he returned from Saudi Arabia on August 19, 2011.
“I was questioned for hours, first by the customs officers and later by officers who introduced themselves as being from the ATS . They took my luggage and documents,” he said.
According to the agency’s charge sheet, Naik had undergone militant training in a camp organised by the Lashkar-e-Taiba at Chulistan in Pakistan. The agency said he entered Pakistan after crossing the border via Bangladesh. It added he had been involved in terrorist activities since 2000, when he left home without informing anyone. Naik said he never travelled out of the country before 2009, when he went to Saudi Arabia for a job. Naik will now be cross-examined by special public prosecutor Rohini Salian.