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Court sends Bhatkal to 12 days' NIA custody

New Delhi, Aug 30, 2013, (IANS) 19:10 IST
National Investigating Agency personnel escort Indian Mujahideen mastermind Yasin Bhatkal who was being produced at the Patiala House courts in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist
Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, one of the country's most wanted men, was Friday sentenced to 12 days' custody of the NIA to unravel the terrorist infrastructure he helped to build.

NIA special judge I.S. Mehta sent another Indian Mujahideen operative, Asadulla Akhtar alias Haddi, also to 12 days' National Investigation Agency custody till Sep 10.

Bhatkal and Akhtar, arrested from the India-Nepal border, were presented in a Delhi court after they were flown from Bihar on transit remand. Both were hooded and produced in the court under tight security.

Arrested Wednesday night, Bhatkal tops the Delhi Police list of 15 most wanted terrorists involved in bombings across the country.

He is a key suspect in the 2008 serial bombings in Delhi's Connaught Place, Gaffar Market and Greater Kailash areas which claimed 26 lives and injured 133 people.

During an in-camera proceedings, NIA, the premier investigating agency for terrorist cases, sought 14 days remand of both the IM operatives.

It said their custody was needed to "unearth the larger conspiracy" behind terror attacks and to get leads to arrest 10 more terror suspects absconding from the law, informed sources said.

Both the accused are also to be taken to various places in and outside Delhi, the NIA said.

The defence counsel opposed the 14 days remand and claimed that the accused produced before the court was Mohmmad Ahmed and not Yasin Bhatkal.

According to informed sources, defence counsel also contended that there was no material evidence against the two accused.

NIA, seeking custody of both, also submitted that the agency has filed charge sheet against five other accused July 17 in a case to hatch conspiracy to carry out terror strikes in the country and non-bailable warrants had been issued against them for Sep 30.

On July 17, NIA filed its charge sheet in a Delhi court against five suspected operatives of terror outfit IM.

The charge sheet was filed under various penal provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the IPC relating to conspiracy to commit certain offences against the state.

In the charge sheet, Bhatkal was named among the "principal conspirators" and "executors" of various terror attacks in India.

Bhatkal and Akhtar were mentioned as absconders among 10 others in the charge sheet by the NIA.

Bhatkal, 30, whose real name is Ahmed Siddibapa, was one of the most wanted men in India and virtually the backbone of the Indian Mujahideen's (IM) network.

The terror suspect hails from the Bhatkal coastal town in Uttara Kannada district near Mangalore, about 350 km from Karnataka's capital Bangalore.

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