IM suspect disowns confession, says never met Bhatkal brothers

Sadiq Israr Sheikh, alleged co-founder of terror group Indian Mujahideen, today told the court here that he had never met the kingpins of the group, Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal.

Sadiq also told the special MCOCA court that he was forced to confess to his and others' complicity in the 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts.

He is deposing in the train blasts trial as a defence witness. Defence sought to examine Sadiq, Arif Badruddin and Ansar Ahmed, who were arrested in 2008 for alleged roles in various blasts which took place across the country that year.

They had said in their confessions that all the major blasts in the country since 2005 were IM's handiwork.

But Sadiq today disowned the confession and said, in reply to a question, that he had never met the Bhatkal brothers.

"When I was in Mumbai Crime Branch's custody, they gave me a three-page 'story' which I was asked to memorise. This story was that I, and some people recruited by me, conducted the train blasts," he said.

As per the 'story', Sadiq said he and Atif Amin (who was later killed in the Batla house encounter in Delhi) had planned to carry out blasts in Mumbai, and they persuaded Dr Shahnawaz, Sajid and Abu Asif to join in.

Further, he was supposed to have bought the pressure cookers in which the explosives, procured by Bhatkal, were packed. These devices were then planted on trains.

According to Sadik, he repeated the same version on camera three times.His deposition will continue tomorrow.

Thirteen persons are standing trial in the train blasts case, while many others are yet to be arrested.

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