March 12, 2018 marks 25 years since the serial blasts rocked Mumbai, killing 257 people and wounding hundreds.
Dawood Ibrahim and ‘Tiger’ Memon — two of the masterminds behind those horrific terror attacks — have not yet been brought to justice.
‘Dawood and Tiger Memon will neither come on their own nor we will ever bring them back,’ says Suresh Walishetty, who investigated the March 1993 attacks.’
Four days before the 25th anniversary of the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Farooq Takla, an aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, the prime absconding accused in the blasts case, in New Delhi for his alleged involvement in the blasts.
Mohammed Farooq, better known as Farooq Takla, arrived in New Delhi from Dubai and was arrested by the CBI from the immigration counter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Suresh Walishetty, a retired assistant commissioner of police and a key investigator who probed the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, feels Takla’s arrest is insignificant unless Dawood and Ibrahim ‘Tiger’ Memon, the chief conspirators behind the blasts, are arrested.
“Pakistan will never part with these gangsters and terrorists,” Walishetty — who was awarded the police medal for gallantry and many other awards in his long career — tells Rediff.com‘s Prasanna D Zore.
How significant is Farooq Takla’s arrest?
I don’t agree with newspaper reports that call him one of the chief conspirators of the serial bomb blasts.
He is in no way one of the chief conspirators.
We had arrested his brother Ahmed Mansoor, but he was released by the court.
What was Takla”s role in the serial blasts?
There are just a few cases against Farooq Takla.
His main role in the serial bomb blasts was to handle logistics, like receiving people who went to Karachi from India, arrange for their training in terror activities, clearing them from the airport without getting their passports stamped, bring them safely back and forth from Dubai.
Are you saying his role wasn’t very significant?
The two chief conspirators behind the blasts are ‘Tiger’ Memon and Dawood Ibrahim.
We must arrest them and punish them for their terror activities.
But let me give this to you in writing: Neither of them will ever come on their own nor will be brought back to India by Indian law enforcement agencies.
Only chillar (small fry) like Takla will be brought back.
There is talk that Takla’s extradition is the first step to get Dawood. There are media reports that Dawood wants to return to India.
I don’t think so (that he will come back to India).
These is just empty talk and there is no substance to this.
Dawood and ‘Tiger’ Memon will neither come on their own nor will we ever bring them back.
What makes you so confident to say so?
No political leader or political party has the honest will to get back these fugitives.
If we had that will, both Dawood and ‘Tiger’ would have been in an Indian jail a long time ago.
Twenty five years have passed since the blasts and we have nothing to show on the Dawood and ‘Tiger’ front.
The reason is lack of political will.
These politicians just talk big and fool people.
IMAGE: Yasin Mansoor Mohammed Farooq, alias Farooq Takla, being brought to the St George’s Hospital in Mumbai for a medical examination, March 8, 2018. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo
Why do you think no Indian government possesses the political courage to get these criminals back?
If these people are brought here, they (Dawood and ‘Tiger’ Memon) will expose their (politicians’) wrongdoings.
They fear being exposed if Dawood and ‘Tiger’ Memon were brought back to India.
If they could get Abu Salem extradited, they could have also got Dawood and Memon back to India.
Do you think it is possible to arrest Dawood and Memon?
Pakistan will never part with these gangsters and terrorists.
Everybody knows where these two are hiding.
If ‘Tiger’ Memon were to be arrested and brought back, we can find out about the people who helped them plan and execute the bomb blasts.
IMAGE: “If we had taken proper precautions, the bomb blasts would never have taken place,” says Suresh Walishetty, an investigating officer in the 1993 serial blasts case. Photograph: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
What lessons has India learnt after March 12, 1993?
One has to learn from history and change the geography accordingly, but we Indians haven’t learnt anything from the last 800 years of our history.
Since we don’t learn anything from our history, our geography has changed a lot.
It is ingrained in our psychology to not learn anything out of the tragedies and attacks we face.
Could you talk about the most important points from your investigation of the Mumbai serial bomb blasts?
If all the law enforcing agencies were alert, India would never have been attacked on March 12, 1993, the way it was.
Poor interrogation of some of the people we had arrested before March 12, 1993, and the lackadaisical approach of some cops led to the blasts.
One of the key persons we arrested (before the blasts) was released.
All this resulted in one of the biggest terror attacks ever on India.
If we had taken proper precautions, the bomb blasts would never have taken place.
However, after the blasts, the entire police machinery in the city put in huge efforts to unravel the conspiracy and nab the people who were involved.
We arrested all the possible conspirators who were still in India at that time.
The Mumbai police deserves credit for doing that.
More than 100 conspirators were tried and convicted.
The Mumbai police made no distinction between ordinary criminals or top level government functionaries while proving their involvement in the terrorist attacks.
Ten people were sentenced to death.
It is a different thing that they were not hanged.
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