There was just one curious thing.
In the days before he died, Azhar had told several people, including the local maulvi, that he could identify one of the men who had planted the bombs that killed 31 people and wounded 300 in Malegaon over two weeks earlier, on September 8.
Yet, no red flag went up, and police closed the file on Azhar’s death no sooner than they had opened it.
More than six years after Azhar’s death on the night of September 26, 2006, the case is set to be re-investigated. Investigators say evidence has come to light suggesting that he may have been killed because he could have identified one of the bombers.
On September 8, the day of the blasts, Azhar had bumped into the man on the crowded streets of this small town, who had a bicycle with an attractive “mounted dickey”. The dickey caught Azhar’s eye, and he asked the man eager questions about where he had purchased it. He wanted to install a similar dickey on his son’s new bicycle. The man, however, evaded Azhar and went hurriedly ahead without giving him an answer.
This man, investigators say, was Dhan Singh, who was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district on December 17, 2012. And the attractive bicycle carrier that caught Azhar’s eye was where one of the bombs had been kept.
Over the past four weeks, Dhan Singh has told interrogators in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that he was involved in both bombings of Malegaon in September 2006 and September 2008, and in the blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid in May 2007.
Dhan Singh has spoken about the man who had stopped him that morning. He has also spoken about how, after his associates and he had learnt that this man was saying that he could recognise one of the bombers, a decision had been taken to eliminate him. This man, sources said, was Azhar.
Mazhar Parvez, Azhar’s younger brother, told The Indian Express that Azhar had made the connection between the man with the cycle and the bombers very early.
“I remember that right after the blasts, he came and told me that he recognized the dickey being described on television channels. He then narrated the entire story of his chance encounter, and said he could identify the person with the cycle,” Mazhar, who has a powerloom unit in Malegaon, said.
A few days later, the family decided to go to the Jamaat-e-Ulema and the local maulvi to tell them what they knew, Mazhar said. “Azhar went to the Jamaat-e-Ulema office and told them his story. No one, including the maulana, took him seriously. But soon afterward, word spread in the town that my brother had met the bomber. As he had been under treatment for cancer, no one was ready to believe him. And we did not want to go to the police without the Jamaat’s support,” Mazhar told The Indian Express.
A member of the family added, “We were also asked by the Jamaat-e-Ulema to keep quiet on the matter until the investigations were over.”
Dhan Singh has told NIA investigators that he had bumped into Azhar near Malegaon’s Hamidia Masjid when he was going to park the bicycle at the mosque on the day of Shab-e-Baraat. Azhar, he has confirmed, had praised the mounted dickey, and asked him where he could get a similar dickey for his 10-year old son who studied in Class 5.
Singh is learnt to have told interrogators that once the decision was made to kill Azhar, he was not told much. He has said he did not participate in the killing, but had received confirmation of the incident from his associates.
Azhar’s family continues to pick up the pieces of the tragedies of 2006. Azhar’s daughter was recently married. The son for whom he wanted the bicycle dickey is called Wasiullah. He is now 16, and unwilling to talk about his father’s death. “Mere ko yaad nahin hai. Main us waqt bahut chhota tha (I don’t remember. I was very young then),” Wasiullah said. Asked if he has a bicycle, Wasiullah said, “I have a motorcycle”.
The NIA is crosschecking Dhan Singh’s story, and has contacted Malegaon police for details of Azhar’s alleged suicide. “The NIA has got in touch with us and we are providing all assistance. But I have to first study the file on the suicide case,” Malegaon additional superintendent of police Sunil Kadasane said.
Reached for a comment, the general secretary of Jamaat-e-Ulema at Malegaon, Abdul Qayyum Kasim, told The Indian Express, “I am away, busy holding talks to calm the riots situation in (nearby) Dhule.”
A maulana of the Kul-Jamaati Tanzim, set up after the 2006 bombings, asked The Indian Express not to report the story for a fortnight. “We will take a decision and give our version only after 15 days,” Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari said.
The report can be trusted to some extent if it appears in other Newspapers and TV channels.Otherwise it should be thrown in dust-bin.These days IE edited by SG cannot be said to be fully reliable being involved in full Anti-Hindu and Pro-Congress business.Some Media-Houses cannot be relied as they may go Pro-Pak for serving Congress-cause.Hence at present this report has a zero value specifically because of prevailing yellow-journalism.
I think you should file the case of defamation in court and prove it wrong so that the culprit should be punished. Simply writing anything without any proof is absurd & meaningless. Have the courage & best of luck.
Planted story. Years of "investigation" & no case that will stand the scrutiny of the court!! Prove the claims in the court of law or stop planting stories.