The Delhi police claimed before a court in New Delhi that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) had allegedly carried out the Delhi serial blasts in 2008 at the instance of its founder now Pakistan-based Amir Raza Khan, was an off-shoot of terror outfits like Students Islamic Movement of India, Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Harkat-ul-Jihade-Islami.
"Amir wanted to avenge the death of his brother Asif Raza Khan in a police encounter in 2001. This fact was revealed in a letter written by Aftab Ansari, facing death penalty in 2002 Kolkata's American Centre attack case, to Asif's widow," Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan said. Mohan was putting forth the arguments before Additional Sessions Judge Santosh Snehi Mann on charges to be framed against 14 suspected IM terrorists arrested so far in connection with the serial blasts here on September 13, 2008. The prosecutor referred to the Calcutta High Court's judgement -- confirming death penalty awarded to Aftab Ansari in the American Centre attack case -- that had appreciated a letter allegedly written by him to the wife of Asif, his associate.
During his hour-long arguments, the prosecutor narrated different events like hijack of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in 1999 and subsequent release of three terrorists and the American Centre attack of 2002 to claim that there was meeting of minds among the conspirators at Tihar jail in Delhi. Several accused like Asif and Aftab had developed a nexus and formed interested groups as they remained in prison in others cases in 1990s, Mohan submitted. The prosecutor claimed the police had in its possession email records, disclosure statements of accused, besides intelligence inputs, to establish links between Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Harkat-Ul-Jehadi Islami with Students Islamic Movements of India and the Indian Mujahideen. The prosecutor's arguments are likely to continue on Thursday. Meanwhile, Judge Mann put off his order for two weeks on the application of the Bengaluru police seeking custody of two suspected IM men Salman and Shahzad on the ground that the matter at the Bengaluru court was at a crucial stage and handing over their custody would disrupt the proceedings. The Bengaluru police wanted the custody of the duo to investigate their alleged role in connection with M Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts in April this year.
I A Ansari, counsel for the accused, on the other hand, claimed there was no question of their involvement as they were in judicial custody. The court, however, said it was not looking into the merit of the application at the moment and kept the application pending for two weeks. During the arguments, the prosecutor also claimed that Mumbai police had arrested one Sadaqat following the blasts in Delhi and he allegedly revealed how Riyaz, Iqbal Bhatkal, Amir Raza and Dr Shahnawaz, all absconding, conspired to carry out explosions at Delhi, Ahmedabad and Surat in 2008. The prosecutor had yesterday also tried to establish a link between SIMI and IM by reading out a confessional statement of Jamaluddin Nasir, an accused in 2002 American Centre attack case, recorded by a judicial magistrate in Kolkata.
The prosecutor had claimed IM was managed and run by those having direct links with SIMI. He alleged the accused, who faced trial in the American Centre attack case, were closely connected with Amir Raza Khan now stationed in Pakistan. The court is hearing arguments on the charges to be framed against 14 accused arrested so far in the five cases registered in connection with the serial blasts here. The proceedings in the matter are conducted through video conferencing as 11 out of 14 accused are lodged at Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad. All the accused have been chargesheeted under various provisions of the IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act.