February 8, 2009 4:00:31 am
Two terrorists sentenced in 99 hijack case brought to city
Two terrorists linked to the IC-814 hijack drama of 1999 have been brought to the city by the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police for trial in a bank robbery.
The case pertains to a robbery in Borivali for funding the hijacking,officials said.
The two,Abdul Latif and Bhim Bahadur Bhopal Mal alias Nepali,sentenced to life by a special court in Patiala last year are now in Arthur Road Jail to be produced in a Sewree sessions court on February 12,where charges would be framed in the robbery case. The trial will be expedited as most charges have already been proved in the Patiala court,officials said.
Defence lawyer Subhash Kanse,who is appearing for one of the accused,confirmed that the two had been brought to the city. The court will try Latif,Nepali and another accused Mushtaq Ahmed,who had given his house on rent to the accused to stay at Jogeshwari in 1999. They will be charged under the IPC and Arms Act, he said.
According to the prosecution,the Mumbai police had on December 30,1999,arrested six accused from Jogeshwari,of which two suspected ISI agents from Pakistan,Mohammed Asif alias Babloo and Mohammed Rafiq Haji pleaded guilty and served their sentence of eight years.
Latif and Nepalis cases were separated and they were sent to Patiala as they were wanted in the hijacking case. Since Ahmed did not plead guilty,the court separated his case too.
The police alleged that the accused allegedly robbed the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank at Borivali on October 6,1999,a week before the hijack,to fund the operation.
According to them,the accused stole a Maruti van at Orlem and robbed the bank at Borivli brandishing weapons such as an AK-56. More than Rs 7 lakh was stolen but only Rs 1.72 lakh was recovered. The rest had been allegedly transferred to hijackers in Pakistan through hawala. The police also recovered a catche of arms and ammunition.
Asif and Haji are still in Mumbai. They are lodged in Borivali police lock-up.
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