Activists question arrest, demand credible sequence of events regarding his arrest

Fasih Mehmood, a suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist arrested at Delhi airport soon after his arrival from Saudi Arabia on Monday, has been remanded in police custody for 10 days by a duty magistrate. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police has taken him in custody to probe his alleged links with those suspected to have carried out the Jama Masjid terror attack here in September 2010.

Fasih was deported from Saudi Arabia, where he was detained five months ago.

Fasih’s lawyer S.I. Alam told The Hindu that “Fasih was quite relaxed” when he met him on Tuesday afternoon.

Police sources said that during interrogation, Fasih purportedly disclosed that he met Yasin Bhatkal while he was doing his engineering at a college in Bhatkal. He is also suspected to have taken him to Barh Samaila, his village in Darbhanga, in 2003. Fasih’s family members, however, denied the police claim, saying they do not remember anybody from Karnataka accompanying him in 2003.

Yasin Bhatkal, identified by the Central Bureau of Investigation as Ahmad Zarar Siddibapa, is wanted by INTERPOL for multiple terrorism-related crimes.

Activists, on the other hand, have questioned Fasih’s arrest, arguing that the investigative agencies till date have not been able to put together a credible sequence of events regarding his arrest.

“Hard-pressed to explain how Fasih found himself in Saudi custody in the first place…a story is being suddenly pushed now that he was arrested and serving time in Saudi for a minor visa related crime,” said a statement issued by Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA). “This is a new revelation and was never ever placed before the Supreme Court, which had directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and various agencies to locate Fasih Mehmood.”

Asking a set of questions to the investigative agencies, Manisha Sethi, president of JTSA said: “Why is it that a red corner notice was issued in May 2012 only after Fasih’s wife Nikhat moved a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court? What took the agencies more than five months to issue a red corner notice when the MHA filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that a trial court in Delhi had issued an arrest warrant against Fasih on December 26, 2011, for alleged involvement in the Jama Masjid bomb blast case (2010)?”

“Were they working the back channels with the Saudi government as hinted by some newspapers reports? In which case, how did the MHA state under oath to the Supreme Court that Indian agencies had no role in his arrest in Saudi?” she asked.

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