BJP leaders’ murder: NIA remand extended for three accused

Ahmedabad, Dec 29 (IANS) A special court here on Tuesday sent three men, arrested for the murder of two BJP leaders in Bharuch, to the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till January 1.

The agency had demanded 10-day custody of Mohammad Altaf, Mohsin Khan and Nisar Ahmed, but judge P.B. Desai granted custody till January 1.

The prosecution said the NIA needed to recover the motorbike used in the crime and to investigate the role of Altaf, believed to be one of the key conspirators.

Altaf’s remand was necessary to find out the larger conspiracy and his international connections, it said.

The defence lawyers opposed the application citing the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which has been invoked against the accused.

Under the Act, remand can be granted only if the accused are produced within 30 days of arrest, while in this case, 30 days had passed, the lawyers said. These accused were arrested in early November.

On December 22, the court had remanded four others — Inayat Haji Patel, Mohammad Yunus Shaikh, Abdul Samad and Abid Patel — in NIA custody till December 29.

Former president of the BJP’s Bharuch district unit and RSS member Shirish Bangali, and Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha district general secretary Pragnesh Mistry were shot dead in Bharuch on November 2.

A probe was initially conducted by police and the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad.

According to the investigators, fugitive gangster Javed Chikna was tasked with the killing to avenge the 1993 Mumbai riots and 2002 Gujarat riots. The case was later handed to the NIA on the state government’s request.

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