Another ATS goof-up: Malegaon 2006 By Somendra Sharma The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is once again embroiled in a controversy following Swami Aseemanandâ€™s confessional statement. Aseemanand has claimed that Hindu terror groups were behind the 2006 Malegaon blast as well. This claim has hit the ATS and its credibility hard because nine people were arrested (allegedly SIMI activists) and a 2,000-page charge sheet filed against them. DNA highlights a few of the cases investigated by the ATS and its theories which were later proved wrong. The state government launched the agency in 2004 with much fanfare. The 11/7 train blasts: Seven bombs ripped through the compartments of local trains in the western suburbs, killing 187 people and injuring several others on July 7, 2006. A few weeks after the blasts, ATS claimed to have cracked the case when they arrested 13 LeT and Simi activists. But in 2009, the Mumbai crime branch claimed that Saddiq Shaikh, a member of Indian Mujahideen (IM), had claimed responsibility for the blasts and those arrested by the ATS had no role in the blasts. The ATS took Saddiq in its custody and gave an application in the court saying he had claimed that his group was not involved in the blasts. Terror email probe in 08: In 2008, the security agencies were left baffled when minutes before the blast in Ahmedabad, an anonymous email from the IM was sent to various media houses claiming responsibility of the blasts. The ATS was swift to trace the IP address and learnt that it belonged to a US national, Kenneth Haywood, staying in Navi Mumbai. Haywood was questioned countless times by the ATS to unravel the mystery behind the terror emails, but their efforts proved futile. The ATS officials went on record saying that the emails were sent by Simi activist Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, a Mira Road resident, and began a massive manhunt to trace him. Their theory, however, backfired when a couple of months later the Mumbai crime branch busted the media cell of the IM and arrested Mansoor Peerbhoy, who claimed that he was the one who had sent the terror emails. Plan to attack ONGC: In March, the ATS officials arrested two Mumbai residents for allegedly plotting to set ONGC oil tankers, Thakkar Mall in Borivli, and Mangaldas Market on fire. The police had claimed that the two were planning to leave for Pakistan and were in touch with a man in Pakistan. This man was first identified as uncle and then as Bashir Khan, a close aide of 1993 serial blast prime accused, Tiger Memon. The ATS had found no maps or any other details except phone calls to Pakistan that were apparently made by the two, as evidence. The ATS came under fire from the Centre for jumping the gun and giving out details to the media without having sufficient proof. German Bakery blast: Abdul Samad Saddibappa was arrested by the ATS from Bajpe airport in Mangalore in an Arms Act case in May 2010. Samad is the brother of Yaseen Bhatkal, who is wanted in the bakery blast case in Pune. Immediately after the arrest, the Union home ministry congratulated the ATS for arresting the mastermind and solving the case. But it turned out that Samad had wrongly been arrested. The ATS, for a change, had not claimed that Samad was the mastermind. In the same case, the ATS in September 2010 arrested Himayat Baig, claiming he was the planter and mastermind. But a few weeks later, RG Kadam, ATS DIG, made a shocking revelation claiming that Baig was not the mastermind in the case. ATS officials later went on to salvage the situation by saying that Kadam had been misquoted. Kadam was later transferred out of the ATS.