Suspected ISIS member Areeb Majeed was presented before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court yesterday and his remand in the agency’s custody was extended by 14 days till December 22. At least seven of Areeb’s family members, including his parents, cousins and his uncle’s family were waiting outside the court, which is near Kala Ghoda.
Arif Majeed. Illustrations/Amit Bandre
Since only Areeb’s father was allowed into the courtroom, the rest of the family, including his mother, managed to catch only a glimpse of him while he was entering the court with his face covered by a hood. The family members were crying and calling out Areeb’s name, but they didn’t get a chance to even talk to him.
When Areeb was presented before NIA judge Y D Shinde, he was asked whether he had any grievances or complaints against the NIA officers, to which he said no.
The NIA Public Prosecutor told the court that, “A lot of progress has happened in the investigation and the case diary is ready. The accused has also made important disclosures which we have to verify. Some data from the service providers has also been collected which needs to be verified by the accused.
We also have to collect further evidence with the help of the accused and investigate his involvement in the terror acts. And so we need his custody.” He added, “The accused conspired to commit terrorist acts as he was a part of ISIS. The nature of the crime is extremely serious.”
During the hearing, the public prosecutor also filed an application seeking permission to submit some CDs to the court, which the judge said couldn’t be done till the chargesheet was filed. The judge also pointed out that there were spelling errors in the documents produced by the prosecution and asked the NIA to be very specific and careful while filing documents in the court henceforth.
> Before making submissions, advocate Wahab Khan, who is representing Areeb, asked for permission to speak to him. Khan also requested the court to allow Areeb’s father, Dr. Ejaz Majeed, to be present inside the courtroom for the hearing, which was granted. Three applications were moved by Khan.
> The first application said that Areeb is innocent and was falsely implicated in the case. As a victim, he did not want to make any confession.
> The second application said that if the NIA wanted to conduct any scientific test on Areeb, he should be allowed to take legal advice from his lawyer and the test should be conducted only with the permission of the court.
> The third application accused the NIA of briefing the media, which led to reports being carried about Areeb every day. The advocate said a media trial seemed to be on and the court should restrict the media from holding it.
>> Areeb and three other youths from Kalyan town Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel had gone to Baghdad on May 23 as part of a group of 22 pilgrims to visit religious shrines in Iraq. The next day, Areeb had called his family from Baghdad and apologised for having left without informing them.
>> Upon returning to India, other pilgrims had told the police that Areeb, Fahad, Aman and Shaheen had hired a taxi to Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad, which had emerged as the epicentre of Iraq's deadly insurgency.
>> On August 26, Tanki had called up Areeb’s family and told them that their son had become a ‘martyr’ and had died fighting for ISIS in Syria.