A special court on Monday issued notices to the Consul General of India, Istanbul, and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi, after Areeb Majeed, who is facing trial for allegedly travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State, made a plea seeking documents from them, claiming that arrangements for his return were made through them.
Majeed has sought production of documents, records and original receipt payments made by the Consul General, Istanbul, Turkey, for arranging his stay at Point Hotel in Istanbul on November 26, 2014, two days before his return to India, payment made for his tickets from Istanbul to Mumbai and arrangements made for sending him to Mumbai. He also sought production of the file related to an Emergency Certificate issued by the Consulate for his return to the country.
“It appears that earlier accused (Majeed) has preferred application to the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, to seek such documents and the information was provided by the Consul General, Istanbul on October 24, 2018. Thus, these documents are not with the NIA. Hence, it would be proper to issue notice to the Consul General of India and the secretary of Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi,” the court said.
According to the submissions made before the court by Majeed, he had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, in September 2018, to the MEA seeking these documents. He was told that his application was being forwarded to the Consulate. Majeed told the court that on October 24, 2018, the response he received from the Consulate said that as per available records, an Emergency Certificate was issued as per Government of India prescribed guidelines for stranded Indian nationals, that one-way ticket for Istanbul-Mumbai and hotel accommodation for one night was provided by the Consulate.
While the NIA has claimed that Majeed, who along with three others, travelled to Baghdad for a religious pilgrimage in May 2014, but separated from the travel group to join the Islamic State. The NIA claims that he was arrested on November 29, 2014, when he returned to the country with “some ulterior motive”. Majeed, however, claimed that his return was facilitated by the agency, whose officials were in touch with his father. Last week, the Bombay High Court had directed the nodal officers of five telecom companies to give call data records between NIA officials and Majeed’s father, after observing that these official documents, “prima facie” justify Majeed’s contention seeking the records.
On Monday, the court also called for the response of airport authorities of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai, on Majeed’s plea seeking to preserve CCTV footage of November 28, 2014, for the duration between 5 am and 7.30 am. “Before passing any order, they (airport authorities) have to confirm if the footage is preserved by them,” the court said.
Majeed in his plea sought the CCTV footage claiming that it would show presence of NIA officials at the airport. The special court had earlier said that mere presence of the officials would not sustain Majeed’s claim.