A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Tuesday extended the custody of alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar till February 28.
The duo, accused in the July 13, 2011 Mumbai triple blasts case, were brought to the city from Delhi on February 6. According to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, the accused have played a crucial role in the blasts and were involved in assembling the improvised explosive devices (IED) used in the terror attack.
Arrested six months ago, Bhatkal and Akhtar have been named in several blast cases across the country. While arguing for their custody on Tuesday, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that evidence gathered while interrogating the accused arrested earlier in connection with the 2011 blast had to be confirmed. “It is a sensitive matter and the investigation is at a crucial point,” Nikam told the court.
Defence lawyers claimed that the ATS did not make any progress in the investigation and merely repeated the grounds mentioned in its earlier remand application.
The court, however, pointed out that the case diary submitted to the court showed progress in the investigation. “Progress has been made and the court understands that the police will require more time to investigate,” special Judge A L Pansare said.
The accused were produced to court at 2:45 pm on Tuesday amid high security. Hand-cuffed, they were made to sit in a corner of the court. Defence lawyer V B More moved an application against the accused being hand-cuffed, and the court subsequently ordered the police to not bring them inside the court hand-cuffed.