Key Godhra train attack conspirator arrested

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Ahmedabad, May 18 (IANS) On the run for 14 years, a key accused in the 2002 Godhra train attack that left 59 people dead, was arrested on Wednesday by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

The train attack had triggered widespread violence in the state in which over 1,000 people were killed.

Farooq Mohammad alias Bhana, who allegedly carried kerosene with him to torch the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station, was picked up from Kaalol town, around 25 km from Godhra city.

ATS officials said Bhana was one of the key accused who hatched the conspiracy to burn the train at Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.

He was a corporator of the Godhra Municipality when the incident took place. ATS officials said Bhana had moved to Mumbai and became a property broker to evade arrest.

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“Based on a tip-off, we nabbed Bhana at a toll plaza near Kaalol town of Panchmahal district when he was going to Godhra from Mumbai today (Wednesday),” an ATS official said.

In the FIR, Bhana was charged with conspiracy to put the S-6 coach on fire which was planned at a meeting with some other accused persons at the Aman Guest House near Godhra railway station.

According to the FIR, he, along with another municipal corporator Bilal Haji, allegedly instructed the other accused to put the train coach on fire as per instructions received from Maulana Umarji, who was arrested as a mastermind behind the incident but was later released for want of evidence.

Ninety-four others have been arrested so far in the case, ATS officials said.

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The 59 people who died in the attack were mostly Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.



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