Top Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal and his aide Asadullah Akhtar, alias Haddington, were produced before a special court in Mumbai on Thursday amid tight security.
The court presided by special judge YD Shinde sent the duo to the state Anti Terrorism Squad's (ATS's) custody till February 18 in connection with the July 13, 2011, Mumbai serial blasts case.
Bhatkal and Akhtar were picked up by Indian counter-terror officials from Pokhra in Nepal and formally arrested on the Indo-Nepal border on August 29 last year.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam informed the court the accused had been actively involved in assembling the IEDs used in the blasts — at Dadar Kabutarkhana, Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar — that claimed 27 lives and injured 127 people.? Bhatkal is also a prime suspect in Dilsukhnagar blasts of Hyderabad and the Bodh Gaya serial blasts.
Akhtar was represented by the Muslim legal organisation, Jamiat Ulema- e-Hind, while Bhatkal was given state legal aid after he informed the court that he had no lawyer. The court also allowed the lawyers to meet the duo twice a week with prior information to the investigating officers.?
During the course of the hearing, Bhatkal, dressed in a green shirt and grey trouser, kept grinning. The court also accepted the prosecution's application to handcuff the accused owing to the high probability of them fleeing while being ferried to the court from Arthur Road jail.