With a controversy erupting over the two arrested alleged Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives and their connection with Muzaffarnagar region, both the accused on Thursday wrote to the Union home minister urging him to transfer the case to the National Investigation Agency for "fair" investigation.
In a letter sent to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, advocate M S Khan, who is representing arrested accused Rashid and Shahid in a Delhi court, said that the matter requires "thorough and fair investigation" as there were loop holes in the version of the special cell of the Delhi police probing the case.
In the letter, the advocate referred to a speech given by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on October 24 last year at Indore when he had said, "An officer of the Intelligence Bureau had briefed him about the infiltration of Inter-Services Intelligence in relief camp in Muzaffarnagar for the purpose of recruitment of youngsters."
In the communication, which the lawyer said was sent through an e-mail and a post to the home ministry, he recalled that Gandhi had stated that an IB officer had also contacted those youngsters wherein the special cell had claimed that they had received secret input about Rashid and Shahid, who were arrested from Haryana's Mewat region, from the Central Intelligence Agency in November-end last year.
"The special cell of the Delhi police claims to have arrested two persons from the Mewat region in the aforesaid case namely Mohd Shahid and Rashid on December 7 and December 16, 2013 on the basis of an alleged secret input received from the CIA in the end of November 2013 and now those two persons have been connected in such a manner so as to prove the contents of speech of Rahul Gandhi as true," he said in the letter.
Rashid is in police custody till Friday and will be produced before a Delhi court where Khan is likely to apprise Additional Sessions Judge Daya Prakash about the letter.
Shahid is presently in judicial custody and he was last produced before the court on January 7.
"This matter requires thorough and fair investigation as these two persons have been made scapegoats," the letter said, adding that the NIA was set up for taking up the probe of matters having national ramifications.
"Under the NIA Act, 2008, the central government is vested with the power to direct investigation of scheduled offences by the NIA and in the facts and circumstances, it is a fit case for exercising such powers by the government...," it said, requesting the home minister to transfer the case to the NIA for "impartial" probe.
The special cell had recently said that Rashid and Shahid had met two people in Muzaffarnagar region.
The Delhi police's Special Commissioner of Special Cell S N Shrivastava had told the media that suspected LeT operatives had met Muzaffarnagar residents Liyakat and Zameerul Islam in connection with mobilising funds for construction of a mosque.
With the arrest of these two suspected LeT operatives, the police had last month claimed to have busted a terror module of the LeT, which was in an "advanced stage" of planning a militant strike in Delhi.