Nauqee Ahmed, the man Delhi police were counting to lead them to the three men who plotted the July 13 triple blasts in the city, has been arrested in a forgery case by the Maharashtra Anti-terrorism squad (ATS).
Nauqee, and his Mumbai-resident brother, Nadeem Sheikh, were produced in the Mazgaon court on Thursday, and have been remanded to police custody till January 23. The ATS feels Nauqee holds the key to cracking the 13/7 blasts case. The agency believes that Nauqee was the one who arranged for the house in Habib building, Byculla where the suspected plotters, Waqqas and Tabrez lived. Indian Mujahideen (IM) lynchpin Yasin Bhatkal is believed to have visited the duo several times during their stay. The ATS is likely to invoke the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Nauqee's case.
The ATS contend that the men prepared fake PAN cards for procuring SIM cards, inviting forgery charges.
Naquee's arrest was preceded by a fair amount of drama. ATS officials produced him in the court at around 11.30am in total secrecy. Even his lawyer Sharif Sheikh and Nauqee's relatives were unaware of this development. When they reached the court around 2.30pm, they were told that the remand had expired in the morning.
Nauqee's relatives, who preferred not to be named, said they were not even aware of the case in which Nauqee was arrested. “We have been warned that if we speak to the media, Nauqee would be implicated in another case,” a relative alleged.
His relatives claimed that the police had also detained Nauqee's brothers Rafee and Razee while their fourth brother Tauqee was questioned before being released.
The ATS also raided his residence in Delhi and seized a laptop, the family said, insisting that Nauqee was not a police informer. Nauqee's relatives said they hail from Darbanga in Bihar where Nauqee studied in a Madarsa. He was pursuing Bcom from the Maulana Azad University in Delhi. “It was in Darbanga that he met Imran [suspected to be Yasin], but apart from that Nauqee, has no criminal record,” the family claimed.