NIA gets custody of Indian Mujahideen suspects

New Delhi: A court here Wednesday handed over top Indian Mujahideen suspects Tehsin Akhtar alias Monu and Pakistani national Waqas alias Zia-ur-Rehman to the NIA for 10 days.

The suspects have been booked on charges of carrying out terror strikes in India.

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the court of NIA Special Judge I.S. Mehta here that custodial interrogation of the two operatives was required to examine the places from where they used to communicate with their associates in Pakistan.

Sources said the court allowed the investigating agency to quiz the duo till May 16.

The NIA said detailed custodial examination of the accused was essential to extract more information from them and collect more material evidence to establish their role beyond doubt in the terror strikes and also to apprehend the other accused.

“That during the investigation, it is important to examine the accused people (Monu and Waqas) about the places from where they used to communicate with their associates and leaders in Pakistan and in India, along with the fictitious named accounts used for communicating on the internet using code language, and the hideouts where they along with other accused people used to stay,” the NIA informed the court.

The NIA said it also needs to investigate the outlets of a money transfer firm from where the accused used to collect cash.

It said it would also probe the places visited by the accused to train several other Indian Mujahideen operatives on how to use explosive devices.

The investigating agency claimed the accused were involved in a deep-rooted conspiracy and executed bomb blasts in various parts of India, including Sheetla Ghat in Varanasi in 2010, Mumbai in 2011 and Dilsukhnagar in 2013.

The bombings were conducted under the direction, supervision and financial support from senior Indian Mujahideen operatives Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal.

During earlier probes, it was found that the accused knew about plans to carry out more such terrorist attacks, the NIA said.

They also had knowledge about hidden modules of the terrorist outfit in various parts of India.

“All these need to be verified further during custodial examination of the accused, who have detailed knowledge of other co-conspirators and devious plans, with a view to avert other possible plans threatening innocent lives and national security,” the NIA said.

However, defence counsel of both the accused M.S. Khan opposed the NIA’s plea, saying there was no evidence to connect the accused people in the case.

Khan said the NIA’s plea was nothing but to create evidence against the accused, including forcible statements of confession.