Terrorist involved in the plot of setting ablaze Sabarmati Express in the year 2002 at Godhra has been arrested by the Anti Terrorism Squad of Gujarat Police on Wednesday morning. Gujarat ATS clarified that Farooq Bhana who has been absconding since last 14 years had also resided in Pakistan for a short period of time. 59 civilians had died in the Sabarmati Express blaze at Godhra.
On February 27, 2002, coach no.6 of Sabarmati Express which arrived in morning at Godhra railway station was set on fire. In this incident 59 people lost their lives whereas 45 had serious burn injuries. The Sabarmati express blaze was a pre-organized plot and Bhana has been the prime conspirator in this plot, Gujarat ATS officers declared.
Farooq Bhana has been absconding for last 14 years. All these years police has been on his search. Bhana left Godhra the same afternoon when the incident took place. Later ATS got information that he had gone to Pakistan. Later, with the help of Interpol, Red Corner notice was drawn against him stated Joint Commissioner of Gujarat ATS, J.K. Bhatt.
Bhana who has been residing in Mumbai under a new identity, had a feeling that the Godhra incident had by now calmed down and the police were not chasing him anymore. Few months back Bhana contacted his family members and had come to meet them in Godhra. Bhatt also stated that Bhana had visited Godhra on 4 to 5 occasions earlier as well. Meanwhile intelligence operatives have been keeping a keen eye on Bhana’s activities after receiving information of Bhana’s frequent visits to Godhra. Gujarat ATS set a trap and arrested Bhana on Wednesday morning when he visited Godhra again.
Bhana had arranged 140 liters of petrol to set afire Sabarmati Express coach. In year 2011 Special court had convicted 31 guilty while 63 were cleared of all criminal charges. Out of the 31 guilty, 11 were sentenced to be hanged till death, while remaining 21 were sentenced for life imprisonment. Bhana will soon be handed over to the SIT which has been appointed by the Supreme Court.