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Teenager's Anguish-4

by Bala
(Mumbai)

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Chapter 4 : Bomb Blasts Case

The high court judge read out his judgement in a short summary, stating that the prosecution had not applied their minds for the case in hand and hence their application for the extension of the custody of the 5 bomb blasts accused was not granted.

The judge said that the 5 accused persons were eligible for bail in the case, while he released the 6th accused person as innocent based on prosecution’s own submission that they had made a mistake in arresting the 6th accused wrongly. They had found out after extensive investigation that the 6th accused person was no way involved in any criminal activity and that he had been arrested on the basis of a wrong identity only and hence they declared him as a totally innocent person.

The case pertained to the sensational bomb blasts at 4 prominent locations 3 months back in the city in which 23 people were killed and more than 70 persons were injured. The police made several arrests over a period of time in their investigations. The first 6 persons were arrested on the day of the blasts from different locations in the city, while they were on the run according to the police. Later on, the police had arrested 12 more persons.

But since it was 3 months from the time of the blasts, the police had to justify their contention that their investigations were continuing and hence they needed the first 5 accused persons to be in their custody only for further questioning. They made a plea to the court that if they were released on bail, they would hamper the investigations etc.

But in his judgement the judge rejected the public prosecutor’s arguments and granted bail to the 5 accused persons and released the 6th person as innocent.

The name of the innocent person was Habib Rehman!

On several TV news channels covering the case, family members of Habib and the other accused persons made scorching comments about the police and about how they were victimised, since they belonged to the minority community etc.

They were alternatively angry, weeping and feeling elated over the judgement, while they were providing their sound bytes to the TV channels. The family members of the 5 accused persons and several members of their community hoped that all of them would be found to be innocent eventually.

But the members of one family while watching the news channels got highly excited and made frantic efforts to contact their lawyer. Getting in touch with him after making lots of efforts, Manohar Shinde spoke to the lawyer in a high pitched voice unable to curtail his emotions.

He asked him “Sharmaji, have you seen the TV news channels that are going on at present? They are showing the court giving bail for the 5 accused persons in the bomb blast case and releasing the 6th person as innocent. Do you know who is the “innocent” person?”

The lawyer said that since he was busy with his court work, he did not have time to watch TV and asked him who was the “innocent” person.

Raising his voice further, Manohar Shinde said, “Who else but Habib Rehman? Do you remember him?”

Lawyer said, “Yes, I remember him. He is the lover of your daughter Vijaya and you had given a police complaint about him after Vijaya had gone missing”.

Shinde said “Very correct. All these days we could not
make out where he was. He was in jail all these days! A very right place for him! But since he was in jail all these days, the police could not solve Vijaya’s disappearance case so far”.

“So I request you to immediately contact the police and revive our case and ask them to arrest him”.

With excitement and anger he could not speak coherently.

Lawyer said “Calm down Shindeji. I will make enquiries at the court and talk to the concerned police people. You don’t get excited”.

Shinde shouted back, “How can I remain calm and not get excited? My daughter is missing for the past 3 months. There is no news about her. Whether she is alive or dead no one knows. The police has no more interest in the case, since they cannot solve the case”.

“They could not find the suspect - that’s Habib - all these days. How can they find him when he was in jail in connection with the bomb blast case? We thought that he was only a murderer, but now it transpires that he was also a terrorist, but somehow he has fooled the police and the court that he was innocent”.

“So according to you we have to just keep our hands folded and remain calm is it?”

Lawyer said “Shindeji, I can understand your feelings. I am very sorry. Please try to understand the situation. I will do everything in the matter to solve the problem at the earliest”.

After shouting for some more time, Shinde disconnected the phone with a bang and closed the dialogue with his lawyer.

His neighbours had joined the family after seeing the TV news channels and everyone was talking and offering opinions, comments and suggestions from every corner, so that there was total confusion in their flat with noise levels going up very high.

The next day, lawyer Sharma called Shinde to accompany him to the police station, to talk to the inspector in charge, who was handling Vijaya’s case, but which had been put in cold storage till now, as there was no progress in it for the past few weeks.

They both reached the police station and lawyer Sharma briefed the inspector about Habib Rehman having been released from the bomb blasts case as innocent and pleaded with the inspector to make an application with the concerned court to revive Vijaya’s case.

It took some time before the inspector agreed to the lawyer’s request. He had to consult with his seniors before agreeing with Sharma’s request.

Having got the clearance from his seniors, the inspector made the necessary documents ready for the arrest of Habib Rehman as soon as he was released from the custody of the jail in the bomb blasts case.

A couple of days later, a police van with the senior inspector accompanied by a few constables reached the jail, where Habib was lodged and arrested him as soon as he was released from there.

The emotions of Habib Rehman’s family members could be easily understood. His mother fainted with shock as soon as he was arrested, while his father, the rest of his family members and some relatives and friends raised slogans against the high handedness of the police.

TV news channels and newspapers had a field day, covering the event for the next few days with everyone giving their own theories on the case.

*****

(To be continued)

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