The hanging of 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab, deportation of his handler Abu Jundal from Saudi Arabia, explosions in Pune, arrest of two girls over their Facebook post and August 11 violence at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan grabbed the headlines in Maharashtra in 2012.
In a secret operation, LeT terrorist Kasab was hanged in the high-security Yerwada Jail in Pune on November 21 after a four-year-long trial.
Kasab is the first foreign convict to be hanged in India since Independence.
Before his hanging, a major breakthrough was achieved in the 26/11 probe as Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, the handler in Pakistan who taught Kasab and other attackers Hindi and apprised them of the topography of targets, was deported in June by Delhi Police.
In a development that strengthened the case against Jundal, Mumbai’s crime branch brought him face to face with Kasab in August at the Arthur Road Jail on August 10. Kasab identified Jundal as one of the main conspirators of the mayhem.
In one more terror related crime, four coordinated low- intensity explosions struck the busy arterial road in the heart of Pune on August 1 raising the spectre of terror. One person was seriously injured.
While Maharashtra Police fanned across the country, Delhi Police nabbed four Indian Mujahideen terror suspects, claiming that the terror group engineered the pre-planned blasts.
In another development, Maharashtra Police faced flak for “suppressing” freedom of speech when they arrested two 21-year-old girls Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan after the former criticised in a Facebook post the November 18 shutdown due to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s funeral. Shrinivasan had ‘liked’ the post.
A local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparking an outcry.
An inquiry was ordered in which two police officers, SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and Palghar senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle were indicted and later suspended for arresting the girls. The police also decided to drop charges against the two.