Malegaon, June 13: Imran Batuk, the key accused of the 2002 Godhra train accident was nabbed by Ahmedabad crime branch in Malegaon on Wednesday. He was absconding for 14 years and was arrested during a joint operation executed by ATS and Ahmedabad crime Branch. After tracing him from past one month, the cops received information about his whereabouts and rushed to Malegaon where they cached Batuk. He has been taken under police custody.
"Batuk was released on bail after his arrest but fled. He was not attending the court. The Gujarat court had issued a warrant against him. The Gujarat police arrested him from here," said Malegoan police inspector Masood Khan. “Batuk was staying at his realtives' house in Malegaon. Nobody knew that he was an accused in the Godhra case. We are trying to collect more information about it," Khan added.
Fifty-nine people were killed in the train incident at Godhra railway station while returning from Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The victims were mainly Hindu pilgrims including women and children who were returning from the city of Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the disputed Babri Masjid site. The Godhra attack was followed by massive communal violence in Gujarat that killed more than 1,100 people.
The train burning incident had triggered nationwide sectarian violence. Till date, 94 accused have been arrested in Godhra train carnage. The convictions were based on the murder and conspiracy provisions of Sections 302 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code respectively and under Sections 149, 307, 323, 324, 325, 326, 332, 395, 397, and 436 of the Code and some sections of the Railway Act and Police Act.
The death penalty was awarded to 11 convicts; those believed to have been present at a meeting held the night before the incident where the conspiracy was formed, and those who, according to the court, had actually entered the coach and poured petrol before setting it afire. Twenty others were sentenced to life imprisonment. Later, 63 accused, including the alleged key conspirator Maulana Hussain Umerji, were acquitted. Umerji later died. After Batuk's arrest, 13 are still absconding.