IN THE 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, the defence for the recently arrested accused Mohammed Farooq Yasin Mansoor contested his identity claiming he is not the one named by the CBI as an absconding accused. On Monday, Farooq was produced before the special court designated under the now repealed Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) with the CBI seeking his further custody. Advocate Farhana Shah said that while the CBI was claiming that Farooq had aliases like Farooq Takla, nowhere has it been proved that the arrested accused went by that name. She further told the court that in the list of absconding accused, the accused has only been named as Mohammed Farooq. Special Judge Govind A Sanap asked her if he is the same accused. “We will say he is not that Farooq,” she told the court.
“There have been points raised by the defence advocates which in my considered view have an important bearing on the merit of the matter and the evidence of the bomb blast case. However, this has no relevance at this stage of remand. At this stage, the court is required to consider whether police custody is necessary,” the special judge said in his order.
Farooq was arrested on March 8 from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and was produced before the special court on the same day. The court had sent him to CBI custody till Monday. Special public prosecutor Deepak Salvi sought a further 14-day custody of Farooq, claiming that he was not co-operating in the investigation. The CBI also claimed in its remand plea that Farooq was travelling from Dubai to India on a false passport in the name of one Mustak Mohammed Miya and he was expected to reach India on March 8. The CBI claimed that during his arrest, he was found in possession of a passport by that name issued on February 8, 2011 by the Consulate General of India in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
“Investigation is required to find the modus operandi adopted by this accused to obtain the said passport. The forgery aspect in getting the said passport is also required to be investigated,” the CBI said in its remand plea.
The CBI had said in its earlier remand plea that an extradition request was made by the Government of India to the Government of UAE on August 22, 2017, which was agreed upon by the Ministry of Interior, Director General of Security Affairs, Interpol, Abu Dhabi, paving the way for Farooq’s extradition.
The CBI claims that Farooq gave logistical support at the instance of absconding accused Anees Ibrahim like arranging air tickets, and receiving four co-accused who had come to Dubai from India. The four men were to travel further to Pakistan to receive training in arms, ammunition and handling of explosives, said the CBI. He also provided for their expenses while in Dubai and apprised them about the next step of sending them to Pakistan from Dubai for training, claimed the CBI.
Salvi told the court that while Farooq had not cooperated with the investigation, towards the end of the remand, he had given a statement that requires to be verified and further probed. Shah countered stating that CBI should not be granted further custody as the chargesheet has already been filed earlier.
She said the CBI had not said anything new and that they want to convert the statement given by Farooq, into a confession. The special court, however, said the investigators need to be given a fair opportunity to probe the case. “The accused has been absconding for the last 25 years. In this case, there are about 30 wanted accused, who are declared as proclaimed offenders. All are the brains behind the serial bomb blasts. The investigating official cannot be denied an opportunity to conduct an investigation in such a serious crime,” the court said and granted CBI custody of Farooq till March 28.