Police get custody of Sabahuddin,Fahim Ansari

The Metropolitan Magistrate court on Monday handed over the custody of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed,wanted for their alleged connection in the recent terror attacks,to Crime Branch till January 23.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: January 13, 2009 3:49:35 am

Say grilling necessary to find out how much duo knew of attack plot

The Metropolitan Magistrate court on Monday handed over the custody of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed,wanted for their alleged connection in the recent terror attacks,to Crime Branch till January 23.

According to the case registered with the Colaba police station,Ansari and Ahmed were aware of the terror conspiracy,and the map prepared by Ansari was used by the attackers. “The police need to interrogate if both the accused had any prior information about the attacks and if they aided the terror strike,” Public Prosecutor Eknath Dhamal told the court on Monday.

According to the police,the accused had allegedly conducted a recce of the city and submitted information of possible targets to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operators before the attacks.

Ansari and Ahmed were arrested in February last year in connection with the attack on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in Uttar Pradesh. Both the accused were brought to Mumbai from Lucknow on December 18,2008.

Meanwhile,the duo was sent to judicial custody in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus firing case. Both the accused allegedly knew about the plan to attack Mumbai and had aided the terrorists who carried out the attack with information on their targets.

First lawyer for 26/11 accused
More than a month after 26/11,a lawyer made his first appearance before the court on Monday for an accused allegedly involved in the terror strike in Mumbai. Advocate Ejaz Naqvi filed his ‘vakalatnama’ for Fahim Ansari.

Naqvi has decided to appear for Ansari in the court,apparently,after Ansari’s brother Abu Bakr approached him for legal aid. It may be noted that several lawyers had earlier offered legal aid to the alleged 26/11 accused,but withdrawn their offers. There are many alleged accused who are yet to get legal aid in the case. “Fahim’s brother had approached me soon after he was made an accused in the case. After contemplating for some time,I decided to take up his case,” said Naqvi.

Naqvi,a law graduate from Rizvi Law College,Mumbai,has been practising in the Bombay High court for past five years. A law teacher at the Rizvi College,Naqvi has worked with senior criminal lawyer Majid Memon before he stated his own law firm in the city.

“Fahim had been made an accused on the similar grounds in a CRPF case and was arrested in February last year. The crime branch is again asking for his custody on the same ground. No accused can be booked for same charges in two different cases,” said Naqvi.

Ansari was arrested in February 2008 in connection with the attack on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in Uttar Pradesh along with five others.

At present,Naqvi plans to file a writ petition challenging crime branch’s contention on Ansari’s role in Mumbai terror strike. According to him,Ansari was wrongly implicated in the case and his case qualifies to be a double jeopardy case,where an accused is implicated more than once for an offence committed.

Asked whether he would appear for other accused in the case,Naqvi said,“I have not been approached by other accused. So,whether I appear in the court for others or not is secondary.”

While prime accused in the case Ajmal Amir Kasab still doesn’t have any advocate to appear for him,another accused Imran Shehzad was arrested along with Ansari in the CRPF case and is also an accused in the Mumbai terror attack. He also sought legal aid last week when he was remanded to police custody.

HC to appoint special judge
Like in the 1993 serial bomb blast case,the trials in the 26/11 case may also be conducted in a special court housed in the Arthur Road jail. A special additional sessions judge is likely to be appointed soon by the Bombay High court to carry out the trials of the four arrested accused,including Ajmal Amir Kasab,who was nabbed on November 26,2008,at Chowpatty. Principal Secretary Law and Judiciary department M N Gilani said,“The state has already requested the Chief Justice of the Bombay High court to appoint the judge for the trial,he said. Accordingly,in December 2008,a team comprising the special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam,Arthur Road jail officials and senior police officials visited the jail premises to check whether the trials can be conducted inside the jail. A TADA court trying extradiated gangster Abu Salem for his involvement in the 1993 serial bomb blast case is inside the jail. Police sources said the special court would be in Arthur Road jail due to security reasons. The state would take all precautionary steps to avoid untoward incidents during the trial,the sources added.

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