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Court extends NIA custody of Bhatkal & Akhtar till Sept 17

New Delhi, Sep 10, 2013 (PTI) 14:39 IST
A Delhi court today extended till September 17 the NIA custody of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his close associate Asadullah Akhtar after the agency claimed they were involved in a deep rooted conspiracy and had executed various blasts in India.

Bhatkal and Akhtar were produced before District Judge I S Mehta amid tight security after expiry of their 12 days of custodial interrogation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The court extended their NIA custody till September 17 after hearing arguments from both the sides.

The court, meanwhile, allowed NIA's separate plea for taking Bhatkal and Akhtar's DNA samples and specimen handwritings for further probe, preservation and comparison with various seized articles.

During arguments, NIA sought extension of police custody of both accused by 15 days, saying that during their custodial interrogation, Bhatkal and Akhtar disclosed they were using several e-mail and chat identities through which they were in touch with their associates and handlers, operating from Pakistan.

Opposing NIA's plea, advocates M S Khan and S Qamar, who appeared for Bhatkal and Akhtar, argued that the alleged disclosures of the accused during NIA's interrogation were "self created" by the probe agency.

The defence lawyers also claimed that NIA was "intending to implicate the accused persons falsely in different cases."

Seeking extension of their custody, NIA said the accused used to communicate in "coded language and signals" and their e-mails and chat details contained intricate details of deep rooted conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India and also plans of further terror strikes in the country.

"The said details are in coded language and voluminous, running into about 3000 pages of data, and require further analysis. Further examination of accused persons are required to understand contents emerging from such data which is often found in coded language," the NIA said.

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