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 Azmi 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.
Azmi was brought to court amid heavy security, but with his face uncovered. District Judge I S Mehta gave the NIA his custody for six days. Azmi will be produced before the court on Friday.
The 60-year-old Azmi was accompanied by his 32-year-old son Fahad at the time of his 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 his father to sign a confession.
Fahad’s father-in-law Mumtaz-ur-Rehman, who is a lawyer in Azamgarh, told The Sunday Express that on February 5 this year, Faizan Azmi had received a call from the police station in Ajman, UAE, where the Azmi family has been living since 1994.
“They (the Ajman police) asked him to come to the police station along with his son. Once he went there, both of them were detained. There was no information about them for a long time. The local police raided their house and hotels but didn’t allow the family to meet them (Faizan and his son),” Mumtaz-ur-Rehman said. “The police would tell the family that they (Faizan and Fahad) were with them, but would give no information.”
Mumtaz-ur-Rehman said that once father and son were put on an Emirates flight to New Delhi, Indian security officials asked them to call their family and inform them that they were being taken to India.
“I received a call from my daughter and rushed to Delhi,” Mumtaz-ur-Rehman said.
“NIA officials asked me to accompany them so they could hand over Fahad to me. We asked them to give everything to us in writing. They cooked up the entire story, and after keeping both father and son in custody for more than a month, they are telling us that only the father is accused. We have gone through hell in these weeks. My daughter is in Ajman with her two little children. You can’t even imagine what she and her children have been going through,” he said.
NIA sources said Azmi 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 Azmi had a small business. Azmi is alleged to have played a key role in Salem’s life after he was married to a girl in Mumbai.
Azmi 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.
Alleged IM operative Mohammad Salman, a resident of Azamgarh who was arrested in 2010, is apparently related to Azmi. Azmi 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 the family’s laundries in Sharjah.