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Accused in bus-burning case surrenders

Staff Reporter

Tamil Nadu bus was set ablaze at KSRTC station in Kozhikode

Kozhikode: A man accused of setting ablaze a Tamil Nadu bus here more than eight years ago surrendered before the District and Sessions Court on Tuesday.

Noushad Thikkodi, 32, first accused in the case, had been absconding even while the other accused, Shamsudeen, 30, alias Shamsu, from Madavoor, has been facing trial in the Second Additional Sessions Court. A Kozhikode-Madurai Express bus, parked at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus station on Mavoor Road, was set ablaze at night on December 29, 2002.

Noushad, former district treasurer of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), surrendered before District Judge M.P. Ismayil.

The court released him on bail with stringent conditions. He has been asked not to leave Kozhikode without its permission and to furnish two sureties of Rs.50,000 each. The three of them have to surrender their passports before the court.

Previously, Noushad had approached the Kerala High Court to exempt him from the case. But the High Court directed him to appear before the lower court.

The Nadakkavu police, which registered the case, had charged Noushad and Shamsudeen under Section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) and various sections of the Prevention of Destruction to Public Property Act. More than a year ago, the city police explored the possibility of reinvestigating the case as the Home Department had expressed concern over the investigators failing to investigate the conspiracy angle. It had suspected that the two accused were not only former activists of the PDP but also of the banned Islamic Sevak Sangh.

The theory of reinvestigation had gained prominence after Soofiya Maudany, wife of PDP leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, was named the 10th accused in the case of burning a Tamil Nadu bus at Kalamassery in Ernakulam in 2005.

Samsudeen had said during interrogation that they had carried out the operation in protest against the alleged mistreatment of Maudany at the Coimbatore Central Prison, the police said.

The National Investigation Agency, which had taken over the case of twin blasts at the KSRTC and mofussil bus stations in the city on March 3, 2006, had also looked into the conspiracy angle of the bus-burning case.

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