A trial against terror outfit Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) top operatives - Yasin Bhatkal, Asadullah Akhtar, Zia Ur Rehman and Tehseen Akhtar - in connection with the twin blasts in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar area three years back is all set to be concluded, a top NIA official said.
At least 17 people, including a pregnant, were killed and 131 were injured in the twin blasts in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar area on February 21, 2013.
Of around half a dozen trials launched against the IM’s top operative Yasin Bhatkal, the Hyderabad case is first to reach the judgment stage.
“The deposition of witnesses has been completed and the National Investigation Agency has submitted its final arguments in the court requesting the judge to convict all the accused,” National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar said.
Yasin was picked up from Nepal along with Asadullah on August 29, 2013, and arrested by the NIA on the Indo-Nepal border. Tehseen and Zia were arrested six months later.
During the trial, the NIA told the court that Asadullah, Zia and Tehseen conducted a recce of Hyderabad and decided to target Dilsukhnagar for being a predominantly Hindu area under instruction from their top boss Riyaz Bhatkal, who is in Pakistan. During the period, Yasin remained at his hideout in Nepal.
The NIA charged that Asadullah and Tehseen parked two cycles with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) fabricated in a pressure cooker, mounted on them.
During the probe, Pakistani national Zia told investigators that he can assemble an IED if provided with all parts and components. The demonstration of the assembly of the IED was videographed by the NIA and produced before the court as an evidence as well.
Shopkeepers, who sold the accused cycles and pressure cookers, also identified the accused during trial.
The NIA bust a hideout of the accused in Mangalore where material to assemble IEDs was recovered. Counter-terror officials also managed to seize Yasin Bhatkal’s laptop when they arrested him and it helped them retrieve his internet chat IDs.
The agency sent a request to the United States under mutual legal assistance treaty and sought details of the chats conducted on these IDs from the service providers based there.
The chat details sent by the US-based service providers had details about the conspiracy to target Hyderabad. After sanction from the US department of justice, the NIA produced these chats before the court as evidence.
“Accused would be given final chance to rebut our submission and the court may pronounce its judgement anytime after that,” Kumar said.