When Khalid Ahmed Ali Nawazuddin alias Rizwan, believed to be the second-in-command of the India wing of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), was produced before an additional metropolitan magistrate court in Sewri on Saturday, little did the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) anticipate that his lawyer would contend that Khalid was a juvenile.
The Maharashtra ATS, which had moved to further his custody, was shocked when Khalid’s lawyer Chirag Shah told the court he was just 16 years and 8 months old. Shah produced Khalid’s tenth-standard mark sheet, which stated he was born on May 12, 1999.
Shah pleaded that the FIR against Khalid was registered on December 30, 2015, while the amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act was applicable only after January 15. Khalid, however, was arrested on January 22 from his house at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. “The new amendment where those above 16 will be considered hardcore criminals will not apply for Khalid,” said Shah. The public prosecutor sought time to reply to Shah’s contention, after which election documents were produced by the investigating agency, which pointed out Khalid was registered as a voter in 2014 when he was 20 years old.
The prosecutor said the attempt to claim Khalid was a juvenile is just to stall investigations. The investigating agency said Khalid was instrumental in safe houses and hide-outs used to train terrorists. Khalid had rented properties in both Mumbai and Goa using the money he got from hawala, claimed the Maharashtra ATS.
Khalid had indoctrinated many people, claimed the Maharashtra ATS, who want his custody to get more information on his social networking accounts and who all he influenced. Khalid’s advocate said as both documents produced are government documents, they should be verified, and until then Khalid should be kept in a juvenile home. The court asked both Khalid and the Maharashtra ATS to provide further documents to verify each of their claims, and also sent the documents put on record to be verified. The court also sought the record from the UP SSC board and the election office in UP.
The court ordered Khalid to be kept in a district protection centre of the Mumbai police in the mean time. The judge then directed Khalid to be kept in the remand home until the next hearing on February 9.