| Police personnel carry one of their injured colleagues after the blasts at Gandhi Maidan in October 2013. Telegraph picture |
The investigation into the serial bomb blasts during the BJP’s Hunkar Rally in October 2013 received a jolt on Tuesday after one of the suspects accused the NIA of pressurising him to be a witness.
Numan Ansari, a resident of Sithio locality of Ranchi in Jharkhand, refused to get his statement recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before a special NIA court. He told the court that he had been brought against his wishes and he never expressed his desire to become a witness in the case.
Judicial magistrate Jyoti Prakash, who was directed by special NIA judge Anil Kumar Singh to record the suspect’s statement, was taken aback when Numan said: “Main yahaan sweksha se nahi aaya hoon (I have not come here willingly).” Numan revealed this when the judicial magistrate sought to know whether he was willing to get his statement recorded as a witness in the case.
Ansari was produced before the special NIA court headed by Anil Kumar Singh, who subsequently asked the judicial magistrate to record the suspect’s statement.
Ansari further told the court that he was being pressured to confess to his involvement in the serial bomb explosions at Gandhi Maidan on October 27, 2013.
When contacted, NIA counsel Lalan Prasad Singh refused to comment. “I have come to know about the production of an accused in the NIA court. But I am not supposed to divulge any information to the media,” he said.
Such an unprecedented incident has occurred for the first time in the judiciary. “I have heard about an accused turning hostile during trial. But an accused turning down any investigating agency’s request to become a witness and that too before the court has occurred for the first time in recent years,” lawyer Rajesh Kumar said.
Ansari and three other suspects, Haider Ali alias, Mojubullah and Taufiq Ansari were arrested from Jharkhand on May 23 this year and subsequently produced before the special NIA court in Patna. The NIA, in a joint operation with Jharkhand police, arrested two more suspects, Iftekhar Ansari and Firoz Aslam, from Sithio in Ranchi.
Ranchi inspector-general M.S. Bhatia said: “The two suspects arrested by the NIA would be taken to Patna where the case of the serial blasts has been lodged. Their role in the explosions was being probed by the NIA.” The two suspects allegedly associated with the Indian Mujahideen and Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi), were earlier taken on three-day transit remand.
The interrogation of the suspects led to the seizure of six IEDs and three live bombs from Ranchi on Saturday.