A special court in Mumbai on Monday extended the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) custody of the five Popular Front of India (PFI) activists, who were arrested in the nationwide crackdown, till October 8.
Mazhar Khan, Sadiq Qureishi, Mohd. Iqbal Khan, Moinuddin Momin and Aasif Khan were produced before Additional Sessions Judge A. M, Patil who extended their custody for five more days.
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The ATS had previously argued that they had found incriminating material against the accused including the book ‘ Who killed Karkare’ (Hemant Karkare was a former ATS chief killed during the 26/11 attacks).
The agency has also made an application before the court to direct the Ministry of Telecommunications to seek information from social media companies to know at what time the password was reset of the gadgets found at accused’ homes.
In the last hearing, ATS’s counsel had said it wanted to investigate accused links’ with Al-Qaeda and IS.
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The accused are charged with sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for waging war against the nation and sedition. They were sent to ATS’s custody till Monday which is now extended to October 8.
On September 22, the ATS had carried out raids in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Pune, Kolhapur, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Malegaon and Jalgaon in the State. Same day109 top leaders and functionaries of PFI were arrested by the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate and the police in 11 States.
Most of the arrests have been made in Kerala (22), followed by Karnataka (20) and Maharashtra (20), Tamil Nadu (10), Assam (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8).
The PFI, through a statement had condemned the raids and termed the arrests “unjust”, a witch-hunt against the outfit’s members and supporters and “the harassment of its national and State leaders” across the country.