The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun the procedure to take into custody four SIMI operatives lodged in a Bhopal jail for interrogation in the September 2014 blast incident in Bijnor, an agency officer who is part of the investigation said.
The NIA, which took over the case from Uttar Pradesh’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), is yet to interrogate the four men and file the chargesheet in the blast, which took place at a rented room while the accused were reportedly assembling a timer device. The four — Sheikh Mehboob alias Gudoo alias Malik (25), Amjad alias Pappu alias Daud (25), Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq (32) and Mohammad Salik alias Sallu — are all residents of Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district and were arrested from Odisha’s Rourkela in February this year. They were later transferred to Bhopal district jail where they are facing trial in several cases, including a murder.
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“We would interrogate them to corroborate the sequence of events (in the Bijnor blast case) before filing the chargesheet,” the NIA officer said. A local court in Lucknow granted the agency the production warrant against the four, which the agency has forwarded to the Rourkela district jail, the officer added.
Significantly, three other states’ police are seeking the custody to interrogate these four who are wanted in May and July 2014 blast cases in Chennai and Pune, respectively. The Telangana Police are probing the operatives’ role in a bank robbery of Rs 46 lakh in their state’s Karimnagar district in February 2014.
The blast in Bijnor had taken place on on September 12, 2014 in a rented room in Kotwali police station limits, in which one had suffered serious injuries. Six SIMI men, including these four, were reportedly staying on rent in two houses, one of which was where the blast took place.
Of the six, two — Mohammad Aizazuddin (30) and Mohammad Aslam (26) — were killed in a police encounter in Telangana in April 2015. As many as six FIRs were registered. The UP ATS, had chargesheeted five local residents of Bijnor, including a woman, for allegedly providing shelter and logistic help to the six men who had escaped after the blast.
All five Bijnor residents, identified as Husna, her brother Nadeem, Rahees, latter’s son Abdullah and Furkan, are lodged in Lucknow district jail.