‘Forced by Maharashtra police to give confessional statement’

Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar on Tuesday claimed in a special NIA court here that they were ‘forced’ by Maharashtra Police to give confessional statements in connection with the cases lodged against them there.

Bhatkal and Akhtar were produced before District Judge IS Mehta during an in-chamber hearing in pursuance to production warrants issued against them.

They claimed the officials of Maharashtra Police had threatened that that they would be compelled to commit suicide in the custody, sources said.

The accused moved an application through their counsel MS Khan for ‘retraction of their statements recorded during the custody of Maharashtra Police’ and the court has taken it on record.

Sources said both the accused claimed in the court that due to the threats handed out to them by the officials of Maharashtra Police, they were apprehending that some untoward incident might take place with them and they were also forced to put their signatures on some blank papers.
The court, however, remanded both the accused to judicial custody till 29 April.

During the proceedings, the court also issued production warrants for 29 April against co-accused Obaid-Ur-Rehman and Abu Faisal who were not produced before it.

According to sources, Obaid-Ur-Rehman is now lodged in a Bangalore jail while Faisal is in Bhopal in connection with the cases lodged against them there.

The court also allowed the plea of National Investigation Agency seeking issuance of proclamation proceedings against 10 top suspected IM operatives who are still absconding.
These suspected members of banned terror outfit IM are accused in connection with a case of alleged conspiracy to carry out terror acts in India.

The court had on February 24 taken cognisance of the chargesheet filed by National Investigation Agency in which Bhatkal, Akhtar, Manzer Imam and Ujjair Ahmed were named as accused for allegedly waging war against India, conspiring for terrorist acts, having membership of a terror organisation and radicalisation and recruitment of youths for IM.

They have been chargesheeted under various sections of IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war against the country), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war) and under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Bhatkal and Akhtar were among the 12 top IM members listed as absconders in the 42-page charge sheet filed earlier against arrested accused Mohammad Danish Ansari, Mohammad Aftab Alam, Imran Khan, Syed Maqbool and Obaid-Ur-Rehman under various penal provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC for alleged conspiracy to commit offences against India.

In its charge sheet, NIA had said Imam and Ahmed were arrested by it on 1 October and 30 October last year respectively on the basis of investigation done after the arrest of Bhatkal and Akhtar from Indo-Nepal border on the night of 28 August, last year. 
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