A special NIA court today issued production warrants against Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and two others seeking their presence before it on April 2 in connection with a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror acts in India.
During an in-chamber hearing, District Judge I S Mehta issued the production warrants after Bhatkal, his close aide Asadullah Akhtar and suspected IM operative Obaid-Ur-Rehman, chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their alleged roles in the case, were not produced before the court today, sources said. They also said that Bhatkal and Akhtar are presently in Mumbai under custody of Maharashtra ATS while Obaid-Ur-Rehman was in Bangalore in connection with the cases lodged against them there.
The court has now fixed the matter for April 2 for further proceedings and asked NIA to supply the copies of charge sheet and other documents filed along with it to the counsel appearing for the accused. The sources said the counsel appearing for the accused told the court that scrutiny of documents filed along with the 277-page supplementary charge sheet of NIA is going on.
The court had on February 24 taken cognisance of NIA's charge sheet in which Bhatkal, Akhtar, Manzer Imam and Ujjair Ahmed were named as accused for allegedly waging war against the country, conspiring for terrorist acts, membership of a terror organisation and radicalisation and recruitment of youths for IM.
They have been chargesheeted under various sections of IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war against the country), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war) and under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Bhatkal and Akhtar were among the 12 top IM members listed as absconders in the 42-page charge sheet filed earlier against arrested accused Mohammad Danish Ansari, Mohammad Aftab Alam, Imran Khan, Syed Maqbool and Obaid-Ur-Rehman under various penal provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC for conspiracy to commit offences against India.
In its charge sheet, NIA had said that Imam and Ahmed were arrested by it on October 1 and October 30, 2013 respectively on the basis of investigation done after the arrest of Bhatkal and Akhtar from Indo-Nepal border on the night of August 28, last year. "It is worth mentioning that Yasin Bhatkal was one of the most important members of IM who was involved in planning and execution of large number of blast cases in which more than 150 people were killed," NIA had said.
NIA had alleged that Bhatkal has very strong "jihadi mindset" and he was involved in identifying, motivating, recruiting and training several youths in causing bomb blasts in the name of 'jihad'.
Regarding Akhtar, NIA had said he was closely associated with Bhatkal for the past six years in all terror attacks.
On Imam and Ahmed, NIA said they hailed from Ranchi in Jharkhand and have been named in the charge sheet for their role in the conspiracy to commit terrorist acts by the IM and also for raising funds for the terror organisation.