Accused in KSCA blast found dead in Pune jail

Qateel Siddiqui was arrested last year

Accused in KSCA blast found dead in Pune jail

Qateel Mohammed Jaffer Siddiqui, suspected to have engineered the German Bakery blast and explosion at the KSCA stadium in Bangalore is suspected to have been killed on Friday morning in the high-security Yerawada jail in Pune where he was lodged, leaving police forces in three states aghast.

Officials from the Maharashtra home department told Deccan Herald that as soon as the prison doctor confirmed that the death of Siddiqui was 'not natural and further investigations was required,' a shocked home minister R R Patil ordered immediate suspension of jail superintendent S V Khatavkar.

Siddiqui was finally arrested by Delhi Police in December 2011 along with five others for their involvement in the blasts at Bangalore and German Bakery, and an incident of firing at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. Police forces in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi wanted him for terrorist acts committed in their jurisdiction.

According to home ministry sources, prison officials in their preliminary report have stated that Siddiqui lodged in 'Anda Cell' was found dead in the solitary confinement wing, but local media disclosed that two inmates facing murder charges - Sharad Mohol and Bhalerao, were being questioned.

The two men had a tiff with Siddiqui sometime ago, and they had reportedly swore vengeance. However, what has stumped home department officials is that 'solitary confinement wing,' is not accessible to the inmates from other prison wings. Both Mohol and Bhalerao are lodged in another part of the prison and their very presence has raised more questions than providing answers to the mystery.

From the crime scene, prison officials have recovered a cord, which investigators feel was used for strangling Siddiqui. However, investigators are awaiting for the report of the post mortem which had not taken place till late evening.

A team from Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has left for Pune to carry out a parallel probe into the death of Siddiqui, who was arrested in Delhi in connection with Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore. The Delhi ATS had then claimed that Siddiqui had also tried to blow up the famous Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple in Pune.

The Maharashtra ATS took his custody while investigating the Pune's German Bakery bomb blasts, believing that he was involved in planting the bomb. Siddiqui was thereafter lodged in Yerawada Jail after the court remanded him in judicial custody.

While incidents of murder inside jails have been extremely rare, reports of brawl between rival gangsters lodged in prisons are not uncommon. In 2002, gangster O P Singh was killed inside Nashik Jail, allegedly by gangster Chhota Rajan's henchmen. The incident had created a flutter, revealing chinks in prison security structures.

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