A court in New Delhi on Wednesday extended the custodial interrogation period for three suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists, arrested for their alleged roles in the August 1 Pune blasts after the Delhi police said several IM and LeT cadres are still in hiding in different states.
Police told the court that during their interrogation, the trio have disclosed that several IM and LeT cadres are still hiding in Mumbai and various parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for carrying out blasts across the country.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police made the submission while seeking extension of the police custody of Asad Khan, 33, Imran Khan, 31 and Syed Feroze, 38, who it claimed had carried out August 1 Pune blasts.
Based on the submissions, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Parkash, extended the custody of the trio till October 27 saying police needed "sufficient time to unearth the conspiracy and vital evidence.
The police also told the court that the three IM operatives were needed to be confronted with a fourth one, a Maharasthra native, who was arrested early this month and is in police custody till October 30.
Asad, who is alleged to be a "recruiter, motivator and IM ideologue" and Imran were arrested on September 26 from their hideout in Pul Prehladpur in South Delhi, while Firoze was apprehended from Nizamuddin Railway station on October 1.
They have been booked under various provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.
M S Khan, counsel for the accused, vehemently opposed the police's plea for extension of police custody period saying probe agency has failed to make out sufficient ground for its plea as it has not disclosed before the court as to what it has done till date since their arrests.
Khan said the custody remand cannot be extended on the mere asking of the police.
The court, however, rejected Khan's plea and said, "I have gone through the relevant disclosure statements made by the accused persons as well as the relevant case diaries... the court is satisfied with the progress made in the investigation so far.
"As rightly submitted by the prosecution, the source from which explosive material was arranged has not yet been identified and other person who are part of the module are yet to be identified and arrested so far.
"Further police custody remand of accused persons also seems justified in order to enable the investigating agency to arrest other associates, if any, who are part of the module involved in the commission of offences in this case," the court said.
Meanwhile, police also told the court that the three IM men were part of a conspiracy to carry out blasts in various parts of the country and their associates from Maharashtra and other regions were about to join them. It said the cadre are being jointly recruited by IM and LeT.
The probe agency also said it is yet to do the DNA profiling of the accused, for which a request has already been sent to the CFSL.
Also, the forensic imaging of the mobile phones and SIM recovered from the accused has been found to contain voluminous data which needs to be looked into. It also said the accused persons used to communicate with other group members through different e-mail IDs, details of which are yet to be received from Yahoo.com.
The Pune blasts were to avenge the murder of IM operative Qateel Siddique in Yerwada Jail on June 8 and the initial plan was to target Mumbai or the prison but later this was changed due to logistical reasons, the police had earlier said.