After 11 Yrs Behind Bars, 26/11 Accused Faheem Ansari Walks Free
Acquitted nine years ago, after being accused of aiding the 26/11 terror attack, but unable to leave prison till his sentencing in another case, 49-year-old Faheem Ansari was set free out of Bareilly Central Jail last Wednesday.
“The two men that I wanted to meet were lawyer Shahid Azmi who defended me in the 26/11 case and ATS Chief Hemant Karkare who had told officials that I was innocent. Sadly, both have fallen prey to the bullets of terrorists,” Ansari told The Indian Express.
A calligrapher by profession, Ansari was accused of designing the maps which aided the 26/11 terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab.
He was acquitted in the 26/11 case in May 2010 but had to remain in prison as the Uttar Pradesh STF had arrested him in February 2008, claiming he was involved in the attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur which claimed the lives of seven personnel and a civilian.
Ansari was subsequently charged with holding a fake Pakistani passport, fake Indian driving licences, some maps of Mumbai and a pistol. A Rampur court last week found Ansari guilty of holding fake documents but did not find evidence of waging a war on the state. He was sentenced to a 10-year-term in jail and was set free on Wednesday since he had already spent 11 years in prison.
“The UP police had picked me up from Lucknow when I had gone shopping for some dresses for my friends in Dubai. A week later, they said I was arrested from Rampur. I had no inkling why I was arrested,” Ansari said.
“I was in jail eight months before the 26/11 incident. One day I managed to read a newspaper which said I was involved in the 26/11 terror attacks. That really broke me,” he said.
He claimed that after his arrest, he was brought to Mumbai and handed over to the Maharashtra ATS who gave him a clean chit. “The UP STF had handed me over to the Maharashtra ATS much before the 26/11 terror attacks. Hemant Karkare was the ATS chief then. He had told the UP police that there was nothing against me. Yet I was booked,” he said.