The trial court hearing the 26/11 terror attack cases issued non-bailable warrants on Tuesday against 22 absconding accused, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Saeed and head of operations of Lashkar-e-Toiba Zaki-ur-Rehman Laqvi.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted a list of the absconding accused along with their addresses to the trial court and sought issuance of warrants against them. Judge M L Tahaliyani directed the Mumbai police Commissioner and CBI Director (Police) to execute the warrants through Interpol.
Earlier, the court had not issued the warrants because it had asked the prosecution to provide complete addresses of the accused, believed to be in Pakistan. The Prosecution got the addresses from the Centre and made a fresh plea for issuance of warrants.
Of the 35 absconding accused, the prosecution got addresses of only 27 but the court issued warrants against 22 after it was satisfied that they were allegedly involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.
Nikam informed the court about their involvement in the attacks. He said all of them were members of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and had taken part in the conspiracy to unleash terror in Mumbai. They had trained captured terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and nine others in warfare and terrorist activities.
Most of the absconding accused in the Mumbai terror attacks are believed to be in Pakistan and thus the Centre will have to approach the Pakistan authorities through Interpol for execution of the warrants. If they do not respond to the non-bailable warrants, then they will be declared as proclaimed offenders. Of the 27, Hafeez Saeed, who was put on house arrest on December 11 last year in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks, was released on June 2 on technical grounds by a Pakistani court with New Delhi expressing its disappointment over the development.
"It is a commentary on the commitment of Pakistan to investigate the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack," Home Minister P Chidambaram had said while reacting to Saeed's release. He is wanted in India as the lone captured gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who unleashed terror attacks in Mumbai, has implicated him in his confession saying Hafeez Saeed was an alleged mastermind. Besides, Saeed and Laqvi, other absconding accused against whom warrants have been sought are Abu Hamza, Abu Al Kama alias Amjid, Abu Kaahfa, Mujjamil alias Yusuf, Zarar Shah, Abu Fahad Ullah, Abu Abdul Rehman, Abu Anas, Abu Bashir, Abu Imran, Abu Mufti Saeed, Abu Umar Saeed, Mohammed Ishfak, Javid Iqbal, Sajid Iftikhar, Colonel R Saadat Ullah, Khurram Shahdad, Abu Abdurrehman, Abu Mavia and Abu Hanjla Pathan.
Earlier, the court had said that it would issue warrants if only the prosecution provided complete names and addresses of the absconders. Accordingly, the prosecution got the addresses from the Centre and made a fresh plea for issue of warrants. Of the 35 absconding accused, the prosecution sought warrants against 27 but the court issued warrants against 22 only.