A special NIA court on Wednesday issued production warrants against Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, his aide Asadullah Akhtar and two others for their presence before it on April 15 in connection with a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror acts in India.
During an in-chamber hearing, District Judge I S Mehta issued production warrants against Bhatkal, Akhtar and alleged IM operatives Obaid-Ur-Rehman and Abu Faisal after they were not produced before him during the proceedings.
Bhatkal and Akhtar are presently in Mumbai in connection with the cases lodged against them there while Obaid-Ur-Rehman is in Bangalore. Faisal was not produced before the court from judicial custody.
“Issue production warrant of these four accused persons through their respective superintendents of jail for April 15,” the court said and also allowed the plea of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking extension of judicial custody of Faisal. The court has now fixed the matter for April 15 when it would hear the plea regarding attachment of properties of some of the absconding accused.
The court had on February 24 taken cognisance of NIA’s charge sheet in which Bhatkal, Akhtar, Manzer Imam and Ujjair Ahmed were named as accused for allegedly waging war against the country, conspiring for terrorist acts, membership of a terror organisation and radicalisation and recruitment of youths for IM.
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They have been chargesheeted under various sections of IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war against the country), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war) and under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Bhatkal and Akhtar were among the 12 top IM members listed as absconders in the 42-page charge sheet filed earlier against arrested accused Mohammad Danish Ansari, Mohammad Aftab Alam, Imran Khan, Syed Maqbool and Obaid-Ur-Rehman under various penal provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC for conspiracy to commit offences against India.
In its charge sheet, NIA had said that Imam and Ahmed were arrested by it on October 1 and October 30, 2013 respectively on the basis of investigation done after the arrest of Bhatkal and Akhtar from Indo-Nepal border on the night of August 28, last year.
“It is worth mentioning that Yasin Bhatkal was one of the most important members of IM who was involved in planning and execution of large number of blast cases in which more than 150 people were killed,” NIA had said.
NIA had alleged that Bhatkal has very strong “jihadi mindset” and he was involved in identifying, motivating, recruiting and training several youths in causing bomb blasts in the name of ‘jihad’.
Regarding Akhtar, NIA had said he was closely associated with Bhatkal for the past six years in all terror attacks. On Imam and Ahmed, NIA said they hailed from Ranchi in Jharkhand and have been named in the charge sheet for their role in the conspiracy to commit terrorist acts by the IM and also for raising funds for the terror organisation. NIA had later on arrested Faisal in connection with the case.