The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told a special court in Delhi on Saturday that suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) “logistics man” Faizan Ahmad Sultan alias Faizan Azmi had been arrested from Delhi airport on Friday following “intelligence inputs”.
The NIA said Ahmad was arrested after he arrived in India and cleared immigration, but made no mention of his alleged deportation or extradition from Sharjah in the UAE.
Ahmad was brought to court under heavy security, with his face uncovered. District Judge I S Mehta gave the NIA his custody for six days. Ahmad will be produced before the court on Friday.
Ahmad was accompanied by his son Fahad at the time of arrest. The NIA informed the court that Fahad Azmi had not been detained or arrested, but simply asked to stay at the NIA’s offices.
Sources close to the investigation said they had nothing against Fahad so far, but were continuing to investigate him. Defence counsel Mehmood Pracha, however, alleged that Fahad had been “kidnapped and detained” to force Ahmad to sign a confession.
NIA sources said Ahmad was being questioned on his association with jailed gangster and underworld don Abu Salem. Both men belong to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, and are alleged to have worked together in Mumbai, where Ahmad had a small business. Ahmad is alleged to have played a key role in Salem’s life after he was married to a minor girl in Mumbai.
Ahmad is accused of providing tactical material support to IM operatives, and working as an overground worker of the alleged terror outfit. NIA sources said he facilitated shelter, visas and passports for underground IM members.
Ahmad is alleged to have revealed that he owns homes in Ajman and Sharjah, two of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. Alleged IM operative Mohammad Salman, a resident of Azamgarh who was arrested in 2010, is apparently related to Ahmad.
Ahmad allegedly helped Salman and other IM members including Riyaz Bhatkal and Dr Shahnawaz to escape to Dubai via Nepal. Salman is thought to have worked in one of Ahmad’s laundry shops, Sharjah’s Istanbul Laundry.
The market is considered the largest cloth market in Asia and it houses a number of textile units and factories.