The Maharashtra government apprehends that suspected top Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Abu Jundal, an alleged mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, could be assassinated or kidnapped by rivals during his transit from jail to court, the NIA has told a Delhi court.
In an application moved before District Judge Amar Nath, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that Jundal alias Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, who is presently lodged in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, could not be produced before the court here on several occasions despite issuance of production warrant against him.
NIA had chargesheeted Jundal here for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror activities in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and Aurangabad arms haul case.
In the plea, the agency said the proceedings in the case lodged here was required to be expedited and the trial could be commenced through video conferencing.
Referring to a resolution passed by Maharashtra government in May 2013, the NIA said it “exclude the personal appearance of the accused Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari….after taking into consideration request of Commissioner of Police, Mumbai to exclude the above-mentioned accused person from the personal appearance before court in various cases registered against him due to possibility of assassination bid on the life of accused by rival group or a bid to kidnap.”
The agency also said the resolution was challenged by Jundal before Bombay High Court, but his plea was dismissed.
“By virtue of order passed by state government…and order of divisional bench of Bombay High Court…the jail authority is not producing accused Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari…inspite of the production warrant issued by this court directing jail authority to produce the accused before him to answer the charges levelled,” the NIA application said.
The court has issued notice to Jundal’s counsel M S Khan for July 17 on NIA’s plea.
Jundal is alleged to be one of the masterminds of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which the lone arrested accused Ajmal Amir Kasab was convicted and hanged. He was alleged to be one of the persons directing the terrorists during the attacks from a so-called ‘control room’ in Pak-occupied Kashmir.
He is also facing trial in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case lodged under the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
In its charge sheet filed against Jundal, NIA had alleged that in and around 2005, Jundal, along with his absconding associate Faiyaz Riyaz Ahmad Kagzi, had joined LeT.
In November 2005, they went to Nepal to meet LeT commander Abdul Aziz and received a three-day training of bomb assembling and IED-making from him, it said.
The NIA had also claimed that on his return to India, Jundal fled to Pakistan via Bangladesh and stayed in Karachi and in the LeT’s headquarters in Muridke.
He did three training courses in LeT training camp and came in contact with LeT top operatives, including its chief Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, NIA had alleged.