The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops buy time in blasts case

Mumbai/Hyderabad, Sept. 15: Three persons arrested in connection with the August 25 blasts were produced in a Mumbai court today and remanded in police custody till September 26.

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the anti-terror court of judge A.P. Bhangale that police needed more time to interrogate the three accused, Hanif Sayeed, his wife Fahmida and Ashrat Ansari.

The fourth accused, Sayeed’s 16-year-old daughter Farheen, will be tried by a juvenile court in a parallel trial. She is in a juvenile home in Mumbai.

The public prosecutor told the court that there were connections between Nissar, the blast suspect who was killed on Friday night, and people or groups in Hyderabad and Gujarat.

He also said the police had evidence that the conspiracy behind the blasts received “foreign aid” and that there was “a mastermind behind the curtain”.

Nissar’s wife Rukhia Begum, who was questioned by the police in Hyderabad yesterday, is expected soon in Mumbai, police said. The other person killed along with Nissar has been identified as Hassan, Nissar’s cousin. “Hassan’s sister has identified the body,” said assistant commissioner of police S. Wallishetty, in charge of the probe.

“Since they were together, we can assume that Hassan also was part of the conspiracy,” he said.

Hassan’s family lives in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, but his family members are not being interrogated, an investigating official said.

The Hyderabad link to the blasts has been established with Andhra Pradesh police probing the activities of Nissar, who was better known in the Andhra capital as Abdul Rehman Adeed.

Nissar lived in Mumbai till 1996, leaving for Dubai that year after sending his family to Hyderabad. He came in touch with Lashkar-e-Toiba leaders in Dubai and was indoctrinated into terror by the outfit, which was on the lookout for people with Indian links. Nissar was trained for eight months before being sent back to India.

The prime suspect in the blasts visited Hyderabad between September 1 and 3 and would flit in and out of the city often. Although he had paid a Rs 200,000 advance for a four-room house there, he was badly in need of money on his last visit there. He even sought, unsuccessfully, to recover his advance.

Rukhia, who has 14-month-old twins, told police yesterday she found her husband very nervous during the visit earlier this month. “He was very edgy and also prayed constantly,” she said. Rukhia married Nissar in 1997.

Nissar’s family moved back to Hyderabad after a three-year stay in Mumbai. Police say Nissar’s mother and two sisters lived in the Sher gate area in Hyderabad’s old city.

Rukhia lived in the neighbouring Bar Khas area with two brothers and three sisters. Her brothers drove autorickshaws.

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