2002 Godhra train burning; alleged mastermind arrested
The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested Farook Bhana, the alleged mastermind behind the 2002 Godhra train burning in which 59 person were killed. He was absconding since 2002 after the culprits of Sabarmati Express train burning case were arrested. He is an ex corporator of Godhra municipality.
According to the ATS sources, he is believed to be the leader of conspiracy hatched at Aman guest house in Phoolan bazar, in which the attackers planned to torch the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002.
The attack which was aimed to kill karsevaks, had triggered widespread communal tensions across the country, including the notorious Gujarat riot.
He was arrested from Kalol in Panchmahal district where he reached for a clandestine meeting with his family members, Superintendent of Police (ATS) Himanshu Shukla said.
“Bhana had told in the meeting that the Sabarmati Express will be late and instead of 2 AM it would reach at 7 AM. He was part of the conspiracy behind burning the train for which 140 litres of petrol was procured following the meeting at the guest house,” ATS officials said.
On February 27, 2002, a group of violent people set ablaze the coach number S-6 of Sabarmati Expressing with the intention of murdering karsevaks who were travelling in the train.
In 2011, 31 person convicted and 63 were acquitted. Among acquitted, 11 got death sentence while the remaining 20 were given life imprisonment. Some of those who allegedly involved in the case were absconding including Kasam Ibrahim Bhamedi, who had allegedly broke the glass of the train who was later arrested last year.
Other accused like Kadir Abdul Gani and Hussain Suleman Mohan were also arrested in 2015.
Police sources said that Bhana will be handed over to the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT)which probed the case.