The National Investigation Agency, which filed a charge sheet in the Bangalore terror module case against 12 suspects, has given a clean chit to two – Muthi-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, a journalist, and Syed Yusuf Nalaband, who was staying with him in a one-room house at JC Nagar along with three other accused.
Siddiqui, who was initially branded as the mastermind of the terror plot, has now been absolved of the charges by the NIA as “there was no prosecutable evidence against him at this stage.” Ditto for Nalaband.
However, the NIA has said investigations were still pending against two others, Aijaz Ahmed Mirza and Syed Tanzeem, who have not been charge-sheeted yet.
NIA sources told this newspaper that the Central Crime Branch had erred in the beginning by arresting all the five from their JC Nagar house without proper investigation into the involvement of each individual.
Mohammed Sultan, legal counsel to the suspects, said the case would come up for hearing at the NIA Special Court on February 23. He said they would plead for the honourable release of Siddiqui and Nalaband, and also against Mirza, as the agency had failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated 180 days.
Tanzeem was arrested in Bangalore only on November 4 last year and the agency still has almost a month to file a charge sheet against him.
The charge sheet is 43 pages long with annexures running into thousands of pages. It lists 180 witnesses, 131 objects and 179 documents as evidence. While the CCB had initially booked all the arrested under Section 121 of the IPC for waging war against the state, the NIA has dropped the draconian charge. The agency has booked them under Sections 10 (unlawful association), 13 (unlawful activities) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, and under the Arms Act for possession of illegal weapons, and Section 120(B) of the IPC for criminal conspiracy.