Ahmedabad: Noted Muslim cleric Maulana Abdul Qavi, wanted by local police for the last ten years, was arrested here on Monday for alleged anti-national activities and having links with terror groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, official sources said.
Founder of Jamia Ashraf-ul-Uloom madrassa in Hyderabad, Qavi was arrested from Delhi airport this morning and brought to the city during the afternoon, a District Crime Branch offcial said.
Qavi has been `wanted` by DCB for the last ten years in a case under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities (POTA) Act which was repealed after UPA-I came to power in 2004.
In the afternoon, Qavi was produced at the POTA court in Bhadra where the police requested the court to remand him to their custody for 21 days to find out more about the terror network.
In their remand application submitted to Additional Prinicipal Judge Geeta Gopi, DCB cited several reasons for Qavi`s remand.
According to DCB, Qavi allegedly took part in the proxy war against India with direct or indirect support of Pakistan`s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and other terror outfits to avenge post-Godhra riots.
The DCB also alleged Qavi sent several youngsters to Pakistan-based training camps run by LeT and Jaish-E-Mohammad to spread terror in India.
These youngsters include Asghar Ali, an accused in Haren Pandya murder case, and Hyderabad-based most wanted terrorist Rasool Party who is absconding and belived to be in Pakistan.
DCB claimed 56 accused have been arrested since 2004 in the case for waging terror against the nation and 41 are still absconding.
After hearing arguments presented by DCB, the court remanded Qavi to a 14-day police custody which ends on April 7.
Qavi`s lawyer B M Gupta defended his client and termed the police action against him as a "political stunt".
"The reasons given by DCB in the court completely lack credibility. It`s a 10-year old case and a majority of the accused caught earlier were acquitted by either the POTA court or the High Court. My client is a reputed Muslim cleric. A warrant against him was issued in 2004 by a local court here but nobody knows why the police never took any action for the last ten years," said Gupta who said Qavi was remanded to police custody by the court until April 7.
"This is nothing but a political stunt as elections are near. Allegations against Qavi are based on a statement given by a witness Mohammad Rizwan who claimed Qavi and others attended a meeting to avenge the 2004 riots. Such statement does not stand as evidence," Gupta said.