May 25, 2006

Terrorists Stayed in MLAs Hostel

Author: Suyash Padate

Publication: Afternoon Despatch & Courier

Date: May 19, 2006


Introduction: Police investigations lead to MLCs, MLA from DF Govt.

In what could be an embarrassment to the ruling Democratic Front (DF)
government, two MLCs and an MLA have come under the Anti-Terrorist Squad
(ATS) scanner for allegedly providing shelter to suspected terrorists in
their rooms at the Akashvani MLA Hostel near Mantralaya. They are
reportedly Shaikh Rashid Haji Shaikh Shafi, a Congress MLA from
Malegaon, Shaikh Abdul Sattatr Nabi, a Congress MLC from Sillod, and
Fowzia Khan, an NCP MLC from Parbhani. Some of these suspected
terrorists were recently arrested in Aurangabad and Malegaon for
possessing and transporting arms and ammunition.

The ATS is unwilling to comment on the issue, claiming that it could
hamper investigations. But sources say that they have started checking
the list of visitors who had lodged in the rooms of these three members.
When contacted, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, who is in charge of the
Home Department, said, "It is very early to say anything on this serious
matter. We are still ascertaining various facts. So, at this juncture,
there is no point in revealing any name."

As per government norms, two rooms are allotted to each member of the
Legislature, one for the member and his family and the other for his
personal assistant and party workers. At the Akashvani MLA Hostel, both
Shaikh and Khan had occupied two rooms each whereas one was by Sattar.
Zainuddin Ansari, the mastermind of the arms cache who is still at
large, had camped at the hostel on the night of May 8. Ansari had
travelled in an Indica from Beed along with three others. After a short
break he headed for Pimpalgaon in Nashik district. This was disclosed
during interrogation by Abdul Azim, the car driver.

ATS officials have confiscated the visitors' register from the MLAs'
hostel. Now they are probing who opened the door of the room for the men
and let them stay there. The police are also investigating who the other
occupants of the same room were and whether they had any acquaintances
staying at the hostel. The political atmosphere is shaken up and an
uneasy calm prevails in both the NCP and Congress camp.

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