Taxi driver helped in cracking 2003 blast case: Maria

The evidence provided by the driver of the taxi, in which the bomb exploded at Gateway of India, had helped police in cracking the 2003 bomb blasts case, a senior crime branch official said here on Thursday.

Mumbai: The evidence provided by the driver
of the taxi, in which the bomb exploded at Gateway of India,
had helped police in cracking the 2003 bomb blasts case, a
senior crime branch official said here on Thursday.

A special court today sentenced three persons --Mohammed
Hanif Sayed, his wife Fahimda and Ashrat Ansari--to death for
their involvement in carrying out blasts at the iconic Gateway
of India and Zaveri Bazaar in 2003 which claimed 54 lives and
left 244 injured.

"The sketches of Hanif and his daughter drawn on the
basis of description given by the driver in whose taxi the
bomb exploded, were crucial in investigations," Joint Police
Commissioner Rakesh Maria said.

"This was the first clue police obtained during the
probe. The taxi driver, who narrowly escaped death, vividly
described the appearances of bomb planters who rode in his
vehicle", Maria said.

It was Hanif Sayed who hired the taxi at Andheri and he
along with his burkha-clad wife Fahimda and daughter got down
at Gateway of India.

"They hired the taxi for the day telling the driver that
they wanted to do shopping and visit different places," Maria
said.

Minutes before the blasts, the driver had gone out for
lunch after parking the taxi near Gateway of India.

Based on the tip off given by the informers, the police
kept a watch in Juhu Galli area where the minor girl, whose
sketch had been drawn, was seen with Ashrat.

"Subsequently, Ashrat was picked up from suburban Juhu,"
Maria said adding, "During his sustained interrogation, he
spilled beans about the blasts and the involvement of him and
his associates Hanif and Fahima."

Bureau Report

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