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November 22, 2019

CM Murad Ali Shah says Thelewala’s ‘spoon-fed’ statement recorded under conspiracy


November 22, 2019

Sindh’s chief minister has clarified that neither does he know Yousuf Thelewala nor has he ever met him, claiming that the suspect’s “spoon-fed” statement in which Thelewala took his name was recorded under a conspiracy.

CM Syed Murad Ali Shah said this on Thursday in reaction to the accusations of Thelewala, an alleged Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activist believed to have been involved in 96 target killings and whose arrest was disclosed by the District East police at a news conference a day earlier.

Speaking to the media after attending a ceremony at the National Institute of Management in Karachi, the chief executive denied Thelewala’s accusations. “I have never even met him,” he said. He claimed that a report carrying complete facts will come out within two days.

Refuting the speculations over Thelewala’s video statement recorded in police custody, he said: “Last night a video surfaced in which a terrorist was forced to say that I had met him. We have found out who created this false story.”

He said the suspect was in the Rangers’ custody in 2017, asking who had access to him. “It seems that the SSP concerned is involved in this conspiracy against me. I will be speaking to the DG Rangers about this matter,” he added.

“This is quite surprising for me that my connection with a suspect, a mass murderer has been tried to be established, but this attempt is bound to fail because it is baseless, unfounded and mala fide.”

He said he held a meeting with Sindh police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam and Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon on Thursday morning, and tasked them with conducting an inquiry and exposing the conspiracy, revealing why his name was taken by the suspect.

“I have also asked them to inquire as to how selected reporters were allowed to record the statement of the suspect on their mobile phones, as otherwise there was no mention in the news conference about my alleged meeting with the suspect.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time when Thelewala’s arrest has been disclosed. He has been arrested twice by the Rangers and now his arrest has been disclosed by the District East police almost for the same charges. But after every previous arrest, he got out on bail.

He was arrested for the first time by the Rangers in 1996, and he was released from jail the following year. After his most recent arrest for murdering 96 people, he made startling revelations during interrogation.

He claims to have been in touch with former MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar. He also told the police that he “met Dr Sattar at party headquarters Nine Zero and killed people on the orders of the MQM leadership”. But Sattar has denied the claims, saying that he had never met Thelewala.

According to the police, Thelewala started his killing spree in 1995 with the murder of a man on suspicion of being a police informer. The suspect is said to be involved in the murders of army and police officials, and workers of rival political parties.

Prime spot: Soldier Bazaar

SSP Ghulam Azfar Mahesar, the District East police chief, has held around a dozen news conferences in recent months and disclosed the arrests of several MQM-London target killers, street criminals and drug mafia operatives.

The arrests have allegedly been made chiefly during joint raids of the Soldier Bazaar police’s anti-street crime squad and the District East police, specifically in the Soldier Bazaar neighbourhood, raising questions about police actions only in that area.

A source said that inquiry should be conducted into all the major cases of arrests of MQM-L target killers, drug dealers and gambling dens in which suspects have been arrested by the District East police since SSP Mahesar took charge, as they have also been accused of having links with international drug dealers.

“The National Accountability Bureau, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Federal Board of Revenue should also get involved and inquire about their assets, as they are running special police parties, extorting people, blackmailing and implicating them in fake cases, defaming the police department,” added the source.

Two cops suspended

Soldier Bazaar SHO Javed Sikandar as well as Head Constable Imran Gujjar, who was running a special police party in Solider Bazaar, have been suspended by Additional IGP Memon and they have been told to report to the Karachi Police Office.

Mahesar’s confidant

A source in the police department told The News that Gujjar is a close confidant or “beater” of SSP Mahesar. “Gujjar was with former SP Farooq Awan and SP Khurram Waris, but after their retirement and dismissal, he joined Mahesar when the latter was posted as District West SSP.”

The source added that since then Gujjar has continuously been with Mahesar, when the latter was posted in interior Sindh, when he was posted as Addl IGP Welfare and now as SSP East.

“Recently, he also held a journalist named Asad Ali, claiming that he was a member of an international gang of drug dealers. But Ali was acquitted by a court a few days ago.”

Gang rape accusations

A female resident of Solider Bazaar held a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, accusing SSP Mahesar, the Solider Bazaar and Brigade SHOs and special police party incharge Gujjar of subjecting her to gang rape, looting her house and threatening her of dire consequences.

“They even implicated me in a fake case of Gutka/Mawa, but I got justice from the courts,” she said. “But my question is that why have senior police officials remained silent and why do they not take action against these corrupt and criminal police officers and personnel?”

She said the police wronged her on the behest of a builder from whom she had bought a flat in Soldier Bazaar, adding that the builder bribed the police, following which the law enforcers started making her and her family’s life miserable.

Extortion by ‘police’

In another case, a citizen named Ahmed Shah, who is also a representative of the UNHCR, has submitted an application to the city police chief’s office.

In the application, he claimed that Gujjar along with a police party in ordinary clothes arrived in police mobiles and private vehicles at a place near their residences in Saadi Town on October 18.

He said the police officials extorted him and his companions, threatened them of dire consequences and implicated them in fake drug cases. He appealed to the higher authorities to take action against Gujjar and those who are supporting him and his party.

Inquiries launched

A senior police official at the Central Police Office told The News that the Sindh police chief has taken notice of all of the happenings.

“IG sahib has taken notice of all the matters related to SSP Mahesar and his police teams, including Thelewala’s frequent arrests, the conspiracy behind naming CM sahib and Dr Sattar, the gang rape and extortions cases, the journalist’s arrest in a fake case and releasing drug dealers for heavy bribes. IG sahib has tasked the city police chief to inquire about all the incidents.”

Four-member committee

A committee headed by East DIG Amir Farooqui has been constituted to inquire into the recording and circulation of Thelewala’s video statement. Farooqui will chair the body, while Special Investigation Unit SSP Nouman Siddiqui, Investigation West-II SP Tariq Nawaz and Investigation East-I SP Irfan Zaman will be the members.

According to a notification issued by the city police chief, the committee will identify the police officers in the recording of Thelewala’s video statement, establish the role of the police officers who failed to keep the suspect in safe custody, determine if there is a conspiracy or negligence in the making and releasing of the video.

The body will also determine Thelewala’s involvement, with concrete evidence, in the exact number of cases as well as establish as to why he was released in 2017 if he was involved in a number of heinous cases. The inquiry committee will submit its detailed report by Friday (today).