Indian Mujahideen operatives Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez, accused in the July 2011 bomb blasts here, today recorded their confessional statements under the stringent MCOCA Act.
Their separate statements were recorded by two Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs), police said. "The confessional statements of both Bhatkal and Akhtar were today recorded under Section 18 (3) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA)," a police source told PTI.
As per procedures, the officers asked the accused if they want to give confessional statement. After their consent was received, the officers noted their statements.
Under MCOCA, a DCP-level officer has authority to note confession of an accused and the statement recorded is admissible as evidence in court. A DCP not associated with the investigation agency looking into the case, too, can note down statement.
Mumbai Police Crime Branch DCPs recorded the statements in this case, though the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) is the investigation agency.
The IM operatives, who have been linked to a string of other terror cases also, were in Crime Branch lock up here since Friday night, police sources said.
Bhatkal and his aide Tabrez are key accused in the terror attack of July 13, 2011 when three powerful blasts ripped through crowded areas in Mumbai, killing at least 21 people and injuring 141. The explosions had taken place at Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar (West) areas.
On February 5, the suspected bomb planters were arrested by ATS after being brought to the city from Delhi. Five other accused - Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija, Haroon Naik and Mohammed Qafeel Ansari- were earlier apprehended in the case and are facing trial under MCOCA, IPC and other laws.
Wanted accused in the case are Riyaz Bhatkal, a top operative of the home-grown terror outfit, Waqas Ibrahim Sad, Muzaffar Kolah and Tehseen Akhtar Shaikh, police said.