Ahmedabad: A special court granted additional 90 days to National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file a charge sheet against seven persons accused of murdering two Gujarat BJP leaders in Bharuch in November last year.
Principal Judge P B Desai, presiding over a Special NIA Court, allowed a plea by the anti-terror agency which had sought additional time to file charges on the ground it was in process of gathering more evidence in the case which had links with other countries.
Citing a provision in the Act that governs it, NIA argued that the period of filing the charge sheet after the arrest of accused can be extended up to 180 days in cases handled by it.
Since the accused in Bharuch murders were arrested in November, NIA moved the Court today as the 90-day period for submitting the document gets over in the next few days.
Explaining the reasons for seeking deadline extension, NIA said the agency is still searching for some more witnesses to strengthen the case. Further, NIA claimed it was still analysing the call detail records of the accused, which is a time-consuming process.
The central agency said the accused were part of an international terror module, thus, it is establishing contacts with other countries to seek more information about their contacts and source of funds they received.
The BJP leaders - Shirish Bangali and Pragnesh Mistry - were shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in Bharuch on November 2, 2015. Bangali was a former President of Bharuch district unit of BJP, while Mistry had served as General Secretary of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha in the same district.
Bharuch Police, along with Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), had initially conducted the probe and termed the murders as an 'act of terror' for which seven persons were arrested.
Their probe showed the contract for killing the duo was given by absconding gangster Javed Chikna, apparently to avenge communal riots in Mumbai and Gujarat in 1993 and 2002, respectively.
Based on a request of Gujarat government, the Union Home Ministry handed over the probe to NIA in December last year.