Mumbai: A youth, held for planting a bomb in a local train in 2006, has completed a three-year degree course in tourism by studying through correspondence in jail.
Ethesham Siddiqui (31), lodged in Central Jail at Arthur Road in Mumbai, has also done certificate courses in Urdu, Arabic languages and Human Rights, according to a lawyer from Jamiat-ul-Ulema, which is providing free legal aid to Ethesham and some others accused.
The MCOCA court has allowed Ethesham to study special courses and he goes to a suburban institute every Sunday to attend classes, accompanied by six policemen as escorts.
On his request, Indira Gandhi National Open University started an examination centre in the jail, lawyer Shahid Nadeem said.
Before his arrest, Siddiqui, a resident of suburban Mumbai, used to sell books and developed interest in reading. Now in jail, he helps inmates to understand law so that they can defend themselves.
He was arrested by Anti-Terrorism Squad under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on charges of conspiracy, taking part in making bombs, transporting explosives and planting them. He has taken a defence in the court saying he had been `framed`.
Siddiqui has time and again used his RTI query replies to point out at loopholes in the prosecution`s case.
He is accused of manufacturing pressure cooker bombs with other accused at the Govandi residence of Mohammad Ali, another co-accused charge-sheeted in the case.
Police claimed that Siddiqui was at Churchgate railway station on July 11, 2006, and had played a key role in planting the bombs.
On July 11, 2006, seven bombs ripped apart seven locals, killing 187 people and injuring hundreds others. The bombs, planted in the first class compartments of seven trains, exploded during the evening peak hours near Matunga, Khar, Bandra, Borivli and Mahim stations.
According to ATS, it was the members of banned outfit SIMI who were responsible for the blasts and that the bombs were made in Govandi.