18/05/2016 2:40 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Farooq Bhana, Key Accused In Sabarmati Express Burning Case Arrested

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Indian firemen try to put out a fire in a train in Godhra, in the western Indian state of Gujarat February 27, 2002. Up to 56 people have died after a train carrying Hindu activists from the controversial site of a razed mosque was set on fire in western India, officials said. REUTERS/Str JSG/CP

AHMEDABAD -- On the run for 14 years, the key accused in the 2002 Godhra train carnage, in which 59 kar sevaks were killed, was today arrested by the Gujarat ATS.

The train carnage had triggered widespread riots in the state.

An ATS official said that Farooq Mohammad Bhana was one of the key accused, who hatched the conspiracy to burn the train at Godhra Railway Station on 27 February, 2002.

According to the Anti-Terrorism Squad officials, Bhana was a corporator in Godhra when the incident took place. To evade arrest, he then moved to Mumbai where he became a property broker.

"Based on a tip-off, we nabbed Bhana at a toll plaza near Kalol town of Panchmahal district when he was going to Godhra from Mumbai today. He was the key conspirator of Godhra carnage," an ATS official said.

In the FIR, Bhana was charged with conspiracy to put the S-6 coach on fire during a meeting with others accused at the Aman Guest House near Godhra Railway Station.

He, along with another corporator Bilal Haji, allegedly instructed the others accused to put the train coach on fire as per the instruction received from Maulana Umerji, who was arrested as a mastermind behind the incident but was later released.

As many as 59 people had lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched.The incident had triggered large scale riots in the state in which around 1,000 people were killed.

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