The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday sought permission to question three men, arrested in three separate cases from 2015-16, claiming that it wanted to unravel a larger conspiracy spread by terrorist organisation Islamic State in the country. The NIA sought permission to question the three men in jails where they are lodged as undertrials currently.
The plea seeks permission to question Mohsin Sayyed, Arshi Qureshi and Naser Yafai. While the court has allowed the plea to interrogate Sayyed and Qureshi, the plea on Yafai is still pending.
Special public prosecutors for the NIA, Geeta Godambe and Sunil Gonsalves, submitted to the court that permission to question the men in judicial custody is required regarding a larger conspiracy of IS and on other incriminating facts.
One of the men the NIA wants to interrogate is Sayyed, a resident of Malwani in north Mumbai, who was arrested in 2015. The NIA had claimed that Sayyed was influenced by IS ideology and along with three others went missing in 2015 after allegedly having left their homes to join IS. Subsequently, two of them returned and were “deradicalised” by investigating agencies, while Sayyed was arrested. Trial against Sayyed is under way. Advocate Wahab Khan representing Sayyed objected to the plea.
The second accused the NIA wants interrogate is the former guest relations manager, Arshi Qureshi. Qureshi was arrested in 2016 on the complaint of the father of a youth, who is suspected to have left the country to join IS. The complainant claimed that Qureshi had used his official position to influence the youth. Lawyer I A Khan representing Qureshi submitted that the plea is filed only to harass the accused and fabricate a false case. He also sought video-recording of the interrogation. The court did not allow this plea but directed the NIA that the interrogation could be allowed for four days but has to remain restricted to their current pending cases only.
The third accused is Naser Yafai, who the NIA claimed was radicalised by an IS operative to join the terrorist organisation. Yafai was arrested in July 2016. Lawyer Faizaan Qureshi appearing for Yafai opposed the plea stating that it was only to harass Yafai, who has been in custody since 2016. The court is likely to hear the prosecution’s arguments on the plea later this week.