‘Parvez Ahmad Radoo looks forward to pursuing PhD’
On October 20, 2006, Delhi Police introduced Parvez Ahmad Radoo, 29, of Sopore, Kashmir as a ‘dreaded terrorist’ of the Jaish-e-Muhammad. Standing in front of the television cameras outside the Lodi Colony police station, the Special Cell sleuths claimed that Radoo was arrested on charges of carrying explosives, planning terror attacks in the capital and elsewhere, besides recruiting gullible youths for such sinister designs.
As he stood that day, with the police holding his hands, one Special Cell sleuth whispered into Radoo’s ears: “Today, we will make sure that you are more famous than Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.” “I wept like a widow on hearing that,” Radoo recalled.
He had already spent more than a month in the ‘illegal custody’ of the Special Cell in its secret detention flat, somewhere in Dwarka near Indira Gandhi International Airport here. And it seemed that he will have to spend seven years in Tihar jail. But then in June this year, the trial court acquitted him of all the charges. The investigating agency could not prove any of the charges against him.
Radoo claimed that during his detention in Dwarka, he was chained to an iron hook in the wall and was mostly naked. The police officials would assure him regularly that he would be freed soon. “They forced me to make calls to my father saying that I was in Pune appearing for the tests,” Radoo said.
His defence counsel Kamini Jaiswal alleged: “They arrested him at the airport in September and showed the arrest a month later at Azadpur Mandi. They not only fabricated evidence, but all the witnesses were from police in the case.”
Before his arrest, Radoo, a postgraduate in Zoology, was working as research assistant of a renowned scientist in Pune and had received scholarship to pursue PhD in South Korea. When he was arrested from Delhi’s IGI Airport on September 12, 2006, Radoo was to catch a flight to Pune where was to take the TOEFL examination as part of his PhD admissions process.
“All my friends have completed their post-doctorates and are pursuing research in USA, Australia, Japan and other countries,” Radoo told dna outside the Tees Hazari court complex, where he had to complete some formalities after his release from Tihar on June 10.
In Tihar, Radoo was often kept with criminals and other dreaded inmates, he said. But luckily he never had any confrontation with anybody. “In jail, you make strange friendships. Sometimes you are lonely and then you have murderers around. Confinement is a beautiful leveller,” said Radoo who filed RTIs from the jail, and guided his lawyers to collect all possible evidences in Delhi, Kashmir and Pune.
Talking about the other inmates, he recalled a forensic scientist who was jailed on charges of corruption. He was from the same forensic laboratory which had conducted tests on RDX allegedly recovered from Radoo and given a report against him.
“He told me that lot of these tests take place under pressure from investigating agencies. He offered to be a witness, but I was reluctant that he could change his mind any time. So, I refused,” said Radoo.
As Radoo went through the trauma, his family suffered as well. His father Sanuallah Radoo, a retired teacher of a government institution in Kashmir, not only pursued the case but also took care of his another son Aijaz who is suffering from a rare medical condition. “His arrest devastated us. But I never lost hope,” said Sanuallah who claimed that the episode made him to understand the nuances of terror laws.
Radoo now wants to find out possibilities of continuing his education. He has refused to file any appeal for compensation.
Meanwhile, the Special Cell sleuths claimed that lack of evidence does not always mean that the person was innocent or police had some plan to fabricate a case. “We don’t have personal enmity with anybody. Security of the country is our primary concern. But, if we find somebody within the department involved in some illegal activity like illegal detention, there is a mechanism to punish him or her,” said joint commissioner of police (Special Cell) M M Oberoi. He further added that they can appeal to the higher court against Radoo’s acquittal.
Why charges could not be proved:
1. Police failed to defend the RDX texture and composition in court.
2. Police failed to prove the recovery of Rs10 lakh from Radoo.
3. Police created a fictitious village in Kashmir, where Radoo allegedly had contacts.
4. Police managed a fictitious train ticket in the name of Radoo from Mumbai Central to Delhi on the day of arrest.
5. Police did not acknowledge Sopore SDM’s and local police’s clean chit given to Radoo.
6. Beat Constable of Azadpur, where the arrest was shown, had no idea of any such incident.