Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Terrorist Squad’

THE STRANGE CASE OF ATS AND US CITIZEN KEN HAYWOOD FLEEING INDIA

August 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

 

THE STRANGE CASE OF ATS AND US CITIZEN KEN HAYWOOD FLEEING INDIA

 

Times of India redeem ED its credibility when it published as its front page banner headlines, the shocking news of Haywood leaving India despite a lookout notice. Haywood had been under Anti Terrorist Squad’s scrutiny, over the matter of the infamous Email supposedly sent out in the name of a fictitious organisation calling itself ‘Indian Mujahideen’, traced to Key Haywood’s laptop. For over weeks, while ATS had questioned reportedly 1000 people and searched neighbourhood apartments, trying to figure out, how Ken Haywood’s laptop could have been hacked, if at all. A narco test on Haywood too had been carried out. According to ATS, Haywood has not been arrested. In Muslim circle, this glaring discriminative practice is a matter of much debate and heartburn, that just because Haywood is a US citizen, he is being given preferential such kid glove treatment. If a similar case had been observed involving an Indian Muslim, the accused would have been summarily incarcerated and given third degree while questioned. Back in US too, Indian citizens have been given similar harsh treatment, when suspected of even peripherally being associated with some terror incident.

 

ATS has asked him to be available for questioning and a lookout notice has been issued to the immigration authorities. Still, the man, possibly through US consular help, was able to hoodwink immigration authorities at New Delhi airport and flew off to the US.

 

So much for the spine of Indian authorities who are being harangued to cooperate with the US over global terrorism and for their discriminative behavior when it involves two different nationalities, on their own!

 

Ken Haywood’s background is reported to be anything but straight forward.

 

The Indian Express carries a report: ‘The curious case of Kenneth Haywood’, published on Thursday, August 14, 2008:

 

( http://www.indianexpress.com/story/348646.html )

 

The curious case of Ken Haywood

 

Posted online: Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 0052 hrs

 

As the American undergoes lie detector test, the Anti-Terror Squad is trying to figure out the man behind his personae

 

Sagnik Chowdhury, Smita Nair & Johnson T A

 

Mumbai/ Bangalore , August 13: Ken Haywood, the American national from whose Internet Protocol (IP) address the terror e-mail was sent prior to the Ahmedabad serial blasts, underwent lie detector tests on Wednesday, a senior police official said in Mumbai. Maharashtra’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), which is probing the case, traced the e-mail to Haywood’s flat in Navi Mumbai and found that his background and job were “of a slightly dubious nature”. But the information available so far is not good enough to charge him or suggest his involvement in the case.

 

 “We have conducted inquiries on Haywood’s background and his company. These are of a slightly dubious nature, and even the company he works for and its office are a bit suspect,” ATS chief Hemant Karkare told The Indian Express. “However, this does not directly link him with the case in any way. After all, having a suspicious background, or even working for a bogus company is not enough to book anyone for involvement in terror activities,” he added.

G S Hegde, Haywood’s lawyer, said: “The ATS has not said anything about Haywood’s personal life, or his involvement in any criminal activities. We maintain he is innocent.”

 

The police in Mumbai and Bangalore have said there is primary evidence to show that Haywood’s wi-fi account was hacked into and compromised, resulting in the terror e-mail on July 26 — five minutes before the blasts. Questions remain as to who did it and how they picked on Haywood’s computer network.

 

Haywood is supposed to be a corporate training manager and general manager with a company called Campbell White, which describes itself on its website as a “premier executive soft skills trainer”.

 

On the corporate side, Daniel Rubianes is the managing director of the company with its main office at the first floor of the M S Plaza in east Bangalore. Rubianes, like many other employees of Campbell White, wears a second hat. On Thursdays and Sundays, he is pastor Dan Rubianes, the head of the Door Christian Centre — a church with origins in Arizona in the US but relatively new to India. Door Christian Centre is a part of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship Ministries, also known as the Potter’s House. Haywood is a functionary of the Potter’s House in Mumbai.

 

The Indian Express found that the Mumbai office of the MNC is located in two small adjoining rented rooms on the ground floor of Sanpada railway station complex in Navi Mumbai. The two rooms also serve as prayer rooms on Sundays and Thursdays for the Potter’s House. A notice pasted on the wall says the community service has been cancelled until further notice and is signed by Haywood.

 

Brother Richard D’Souza, the contact person for the centre, said, “We have been running our prayer service for the last one year from these premises. It is only this year that Campbell White opened its branch here.” He said 20 students learn English from Haywood.

 

Campbell White has, meanwhile, removed details regarding its employees from its website to protect “workers and their families from malicious intents by anyone”. “Campbell White will continue to support police authorities with full cooperation… We have emphasised to them that they should work diligently and quickly to find suspects and bring them to justice so that Mr. Haywood may return to his normal course of business,” it says.

 

ATS officials raided Haywood’s residence on July 27. Ten computers from neighbouring houses and Haywood’s residence were sent to the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis.

 

Physical and Internet-based checks on other past and present employees of Campbell White like Scott Grabowska, a former Mumbai-based international protocol trainer, David Curwen-Walker, a senior operations manager, and Jonathan Heimberg, a senior information services manager, both in Bangalore, have shown links to the church. For instance, Curwen-Walker and Heimberg head the Door churches at Kammanahalli and Koramangala in Bangalore.

 

However, Campbell White and the Door church officials have remained elusive on the links between the two entities. When contacted Michael White, an Australia-based director for Campbell White, refused to comment on the India operations. “You must speak to Dan Rubianes in Bangalore,” he said.

 

Some churchgoers at the Door Christian Centre in Cox Town in Bangalore said Rubianes had left for the US on August 3 to attend a Bible conference in Arizona.

 

“Campbell White is a business that pastor Dan runs. We as churchgoers are not aware of its nature,” said Hemanth Kumar, an engineering student, who has been associated with the church since it began three years ago. “Being American, pastors are equipped to work as accent trainers. In Bangalore, many such people work in churches,” added Ravi Kumar, a member of the church in Bangalore.

 

Incidentally, Joseph Campbell, who is listed as the US director of Campbell White, is believed to be the seniormost pastor of the Door church in Arizona.

 

editor@expressindia.com

 

 

 

It is therefore strange that one clue, that could have possibly turned the whole direction of bomb blast investigations to foreign elements, was so callously handled. Even for media, this is most unusual and has created great suspicion in the minds of people that a bogey of SIMI line up of usual suspects had been used to camouflage, the possible link of a sleeper cell posing as Christian Missionaries that could have been behind the overall organisation of the serial bomb blasts, in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat, through their local agents.

 

Some more surprises were in the pipeline, when one fine day last week, columns and columns of print media space, in Times of India and other newspapers, written out by possibly each and every of their writer staff, doing overtime work, to have come out with the greatest fiction story of the arrests and involvement of SIMI suspects, without any need to provide any hard facts over such allegation. Given police record, people are most skeptical about their Goebbellian propaganda bringing out the true facts. Police credibility is at its lowest ebb. And if the media is hand in glove with such dubious exercises, it will not only lose its own credibility, but would do a great disservice to the nation.

 

Under such an atmosphere of press bending to political and police pressure to break fake stories on the gullible public, Times of India’s strong exception to the flight of Kenneth Haywood, is certainly laudable. This proves that there are more to the affairs of the state than that is revealed to the public. The dangerous game that some rogue elements are playing in demonizing a preferred victimized community cannot bring peace to the nation. The real culprits with international agenda of destabilising country after country, for self-serving objectives, should be brought to justice. But before that the people should be dutifully informed with the stark facts and nothing but the facts.

 

Kenneth Hayward’s lead should not be left out of the investigation of serial bomb blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat. His possible accomplices, if any, should be traced and exposed. India cannot afford to go soft on terror, coming from sources other than those conveniently preferred by a prejudiced police and investigative force. All leads should be dutifully pursued in the interest of the security, integrity and communal harmony of the nation.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

 

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STATE TERRORISM: THE SHAME OF INDIA

April 19, 2008

 

Saturday, April 19, 2008

 

 

STATE TERRORISM: THE SHAME OF INDIA

 

State after state, the special police squads, organised as ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) and STF (Special Task Force), are rounding up innocent Muslims, brand them as ‘terrorists’, jail them under draconian laws for days, months and years and try every trick in the trade to deny them justice. The volume of such arrests country wide has increased manifold.

 

This only points to a conspiracy to import US/Israeli agenda into India with a distinct proactive commitment to flaunt India’s constitution, its democracy, its rule of law, it’s ingrained respect for judicial process and flagrant violation of Human Rights.

 

India’s most active upholder of Human Rights, TEHELKA magazine, in the following article, exposes a diabolical attempt to subvert the system of justice and to make India a virtual police state, by openly promoting special police units to become the judge and jury in the case of Indian Muslims by denying the accused through chauvinist propaganda, the services of lawyers for their day in court.

 

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main38.asp?filename=Ne260408lawyers_judges.asp

 

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 16, Dated April 26, 2008

 

Presumed guilty –

 

When Lawyers Turn Judges 

Bar associations in Uttar Pradesh have enforced a peculiar boycott of justice: no lawyer will plead a terror suspect’s case. But one man has refused to obey. ANIL VARGHESE reports

ARE YOUNG Muslim men victims of an unofficial Emergency? An unusual meeting that went unnoticed took place in Allahabad a couple of weeks ago. Away from the media glare, over a thousand Muslims gathered to speak aloud a question increasingly being asked in their community: are they the collateral damage in the fight against terror? The gathering took up the specific example of Uttar Pradesh where, in an unprecedented denial of justice, Muslims slapped with terror charges are being shunned by local lawyers. And with no lawyer ready to fight their cases, the police is finding it easy to pick up, detain and interrogate suspected ‘terrorists’ in flagrantly illegal ways. The Allahabad meeting was called to raise a voice against this State terrorism.

The banner stuck below the dais read, ‘ATS-STF Vibhag, Aatankvad Ka Doosra Naam’ (ATS-STF Department, Terrorism’s Other Name). The ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) and the STF (Special Task Force) are special police forces tasked with tackling the growing number of jehadi attacks in UP. One of the speakers warned the audience: “Please do not be consoled that the one picked up by the STF was not you; it could soon be you.” Waliullah, Aftab Alam Ansari, Mohammed Khalid Mujahid, Mohammed Tariq Qasmi, Sajhadur Rehman, Mohammed Akhtar. These are not just names. The families of each of these men have accused the police of acting illegally but none could seek any legal recourse because one after the other, district bar associations passed resolutions boycotting the accused.

The Faizabad bar association set the trend following the attack on the makeshift temple in Ayodhya in 2005. Varanasi followed suit when the trial of Waliullah, accused in the 2006 twin explosions in the Sankatmochan Temple and the Railway Station, was about to begin. Lucknow and Barabanki joined the boycott after the November 22, 2007 serial blasts in three courts — at Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad. Days before the blasts, lawyers at a Lucknow court had even assaulted three men arrested by the STF for a plot to assassinate Rahul Gandhi.

In Phulpur village, 40km from Allahabad, Waliullah appeared for questioning at the local police station on March 25, 2006. The next day, he was asked to make the short trip to the IFFCO campus for another session where midway, he was stopped by men in three Bolero jeeps, shoved into one of the jeeps and driven away. Affectionately known as Muftisaab, Waliullah ran a madarsa and was also the Imam of the Phulpur mosque. The STF’s FIR says Waliullah was arrested in Lucknow with explosives in his possession on April 5, ten days after the date given by witnesses. His brother, Wasiullah, firmly denies the STF’s allegation that Waliullah was carrying a passport and had Rs 50 lakh in his bank account.

While awaiting trial in Varanasi, his “confession” to the police was broadcast on TV. Attacked in court and spurned by lawyers, his case made no progress for one-and-a-half years. It was then that he moved the Allahabad High Court for a transfer of his trial. The case was shifted to Ghaziabad where the family managed to hire a lawyer for Waliullah who has spent two years behind bars. He had left a pregnant wife and two little sons behind. Ask Varanasi lawyer Anupam Verma — part of the boycott — about Waliullah and he says, “These are people who betrayed the nation. Theirs is a matter of police investigation, and the police’s word should be deemed final.”

THE LAWYERS have for all purposes turned into judges. The serial blasts outside the courts united the legal community in outrage, and the five accused in these cases were rendered especially untouchable. Mohammed Shoaib, a lawyer based in Lucknow, defied the ban by the bar association to come to their rescue. Shoaib pleaded on behalf of Aftab Alam Ansari who the STF had labelled a HUJI terrorist. “Aftab’s mother and I were not allowed to meet him in prison. When I filed a complaint in court, the judge asked for a report from the jail authorities instead of acting on the complaint,” Shoaib recalls. But his efforts met with success and Aftab was released a few days later after Shoaib demolished the police’s theory.

The lone legal warrior was soon approached by the families of co-accused Mohammed Khalid Mujhahid and Mohammed Tariq Qasmi. “Khalid was picked up by the STF in Mariyahu (Jaunpur district) town where he had gone to buy vegetables. Hundreds of witnesses have signed a declaration testifying this,” says his wife Shabnam Banu. The date was December 16, 2007; the couple had been married for less than two months. Tariq’s story is similar. “He was arrested from Saraimir in Azamgarh on December 12 while on his way to Mohammedpur. When the people in the vicinity asked the STF personnel where they were taking him, they said they were taking him home. Instead, they dumped him in Lucknow Jail,” says Arshad Khan, leader of the National Loktantrik Party who led street protests in Lucknow following Tariq’s disappearance.

The protests led to the Director General of Police calling a press conference on December 22 to announce the arrest of two Harkat-ul-Jihad-al- Islami (HuJI) militants, suspects in the court explosions. The two suspects were Khalid and Tariq who, the DGP claimed, had fallen into the STF’s trap in Barabanki on that very day. Innocents or hardcore HUJI militants? Forget the legal work Shoaib is putting in, the lawyer also has to fight the “untouchability’’ factor that is operating so strongly against the “terror” suspects — it has reached the officials in the bottom rung. Requests for copies of case documents fell on deaf ears. It was now not just the lawyers, even the jail officials were lending silent support.

In Faizabad, the jail superintendent failed to respond to a show cause notice after he had failed to present the accused in court. The Chief Judicial Magistrate was forced to make an unusual move. Recalls Shoaib, “He went to the prison complex and read out the chargesheet to me and my clients,” says Shoaib. The jail authorities have still not produced Tariq and Shahid in court. When Shoaib went to submit the bail application in Barabanki, he was warned by Pradip Singh, secretary of the local bar association, of a possible assault if he didn’t withdraw from the cases. Bowing to pressure, he withdrew, and returned to Lucknow having struck his name off his clients’ papers. Distraught, the families of Khalid and Tariq have asked him to reconsider. Aware that the possibility of finding another lawyer is almost nil, Shoaib told TEHELKA, “In all probability, I will be the replacement.”

Any accused is not guilty until proven guilty, but this fundamental legal principle has not passed muster in some parts of Uttar Pradesh. The lawyers’ boycott has come as a cruel blow to the families of the suspects. There seems to be little remorse about the effect the boycott is having. Sabhajit Pandey, secretary of the bar association in Faizabad, had said while passing the resolution, “The lawyers voiced their personal stand when they passed the resolution. It was inspired by their love for the nation. It will continue against similar cases in the future.” The boycott has been in practice for three long years and it is only now that Shoaib has filed a writ in the Allahabad High Court against the boycott resolutions of the Lucknow, Faizabad and Barabanki Bar Associations.

The hearing is scheduled for May 22 — a date the families of the accused are looking forward to. Meanwhile, Shoaib’s list of “helpless clients” is growing. He now also represents Sajjhadur Rehman and Mohammed Akhtar, the two remaining accused in the court explosions. He is similarly defending Kaushar Farooqui, arrested under dubious circumstances from Kunda, Pratapgarh for the January 1 attack on the CRPF camp in Rampur. “In my career spanning over three decades, I have seen nothing of this sort. Even during the Emergency, when I was underground for over a year and was subsequently jailed for two months, I could still avail legal recourse,” says Shoaib. In parts of UP, there seems to be an unofficial Emergency looming over young Muslim men.WRITER’S E-MAIL :
anil@tehelka.com