Top Indian Mujahideen terrorist Yasin Bhatkal`s NIA custody extended till September 22

A Delhi court on Tuesday extended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal by four days.

Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 01:09 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi/Panaji: A Delhi court on Tuesday extended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal till September 22.

The term of custody was extended after the probe agency said Bhatkal was involved in "subversive activities" of causing bomb blasts in different parts of India since 2003.
Earlier in the day, the NIA teams visited Goa along with Yasin Bhatkal to probe his links in the coastal state where he had earlier visited, police sources said.

However, the NIA teams who reached here yesterday night did not revealed any information, police said.

According to reports, the NIA teams were trying to ascertain whether Bhatkal had been recruiting vulnerable youths for his terror network from Goa. The state was on high alert last year after it had got inputs of some terror strikes.

Meanwhile, Asadullah Akhtar, one of the aides of the terror operative Bhatkal who was arrested along with the former a few days ago, was also granted to NIA transit remand to NIA for taking him to Hyderabad for Dilsukhnagar terror attack probe.

Asadullah Akhtar was brought here by the NIA sleuths on Saturday.

Bhatkal and Akhtar both were produced before the court in muffled faces amid tight security after expiry of their seven-day NIA custody.

The NIA wanted Akhtar to be remanded to judicial custody. Its Hyderabad unit moved a separate plea seeking permission to formally arrest Akhtar in connection with the February 21, 2013 blasts in Hyderabad`s Dilsukhnagar area.

The court allowed the Hyderabad NIA unit`s plea and sent Akhtar to two days transit remand in connection with the case.

The twin blasts had claimed 16 lives and were triggered by IEDs planted near Konark and Venkatadiri theatres in Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad on February 21.

During the hearing, the NIA sought eight days custody of Bhatkal saying he had travelled to different parts of India in furtherance of the conspiracy to carry out terror strikes.

"The objective of the investigation of the case is primarily to uncover each and every aspect of the activity of IM and their hidden sleeper cells and operatives so that the number of terrorist activities being planned by the outfit could be prevented," the NIA said.

The NIA also told the court that Bhatkal had associates in Pakistan, Nepal and Middle East who were also involved in the case and more information regarding them have to be ascertained during his custodial interrogation.

"I have perused the case diary and am satisfied that the accused Mohd Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal is required for interrogation. The accused Yasin Bhatkal is remanded to police custody for four days upto September 22," District Judge I S Mehta said.

NIA told the court that it has to go through large number
of emails having secret codes, secret email IDs and chat IDs and Bhatkal`s custody was required to ascertain the facts regarding these.

Regarding Akhtar, the court directed NIA`s Superintendent of Police of its Hyderabad unit, to produce him before the special NIA court there on or before September 19.

"I have perused the contents of application filed by SP NIA Hyderabad and the same is allowed. The permission for arresting accused Asadullah Akhtar is granted to CIO/SP NIA Hyderabad and two days transit remand is given to NIA Hyderabad," the court said.

Meanwhile, advocate MS Khan, who appeared for Bhatkal, opposed the NIA plea, saying there were no specific allegations against his client and that the agency had not come out with any new facts to seek police custody.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, who appeared for Akhtar, opposed the plea of NIA`s Hyderabad unit saying the probe agency has already interrogated him for 19 days.

The special cell of Delhi police, ATS Maharashtra and Bangalore Crime Branch have also moved separate applications seeking custody of Bhatkal and Akhtar.

According to the NIA, Bhatkal, wanted in around 40 terror cases and carrying a reward of Rs 35 lakh, and Akhtar were arrested from the Indo-Nepal border on the night of August 28.

Bhatkal was among the "principal conspirators" and "executors" of various terror attacks in India, the NIA has said in its charge sheet filed in a Delhi court last month.

30-year-old Yasin Bhatkal,who hails from Bhatkal village of Udupi district in North Karnataka, was arrested along Indo-Nepal border on August 29, is alleged to be involved in a series of blasts from 2006 onwards across the country.

Bhatkal, who was on run since 2008, is wanted in cases of terror attacks in Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad.

Bhatkal, who co-founded Indian Mujahideen (IM) in 2008 along with brother Riaz, is also wanted in the German Bakery bomb blast in Pune on February 13, 2010, that left 17 people dead.

The IM was designated a terrorist group by the government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in June 2010.

Yasin Bhatkal, who was earlier associated with banned outfit Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), is suspected to have hatched a conspiracy with others to wage war against India.

Bhatkal and Akhtar were among the 12 top IM members listed as absconders in the 42-page charge sheet against arrested accused Mohammad Danish Ansari, Mohammad Aftab Alam, Imran Khan, Syed Maqbool and Obaid-Ur-Rehman under various penal provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the IPC for conspiracy to commit offences against the state.

The NIA has said IM, which was banned by the Centre on June 22, 2009, was involved in November 23, 2007 blasts in courts of Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi blast of July 11, 2006, Mumbai serial blasts of July 11, 2006 and Hyderabad twin blasts of August 25, 2007.

Besides this, Jaipur blast of May 13, 2008, Ahmedabad serial blasts of July 26, 2008, September 13, 2008 serial blasts in Delhi, Pune`s German Bakery blast in February 2010, Chinnaswami stadium blast in Bangalore on April 17, 2010 and Mumbai serial blasts of July 13, 2011 were also allegedly carried out by IM, the NIA has said.

With PTI news