ISIS ‘recruit’ Areeb Majeed files bail plea in NIA court

Mumbai: Areeb Majeed, who was arrested in 2014 on his return from Syria where he had allegedly joined the terror outfit ISIS, moved a bail application on Tuesday before a special NIA court.

In his bail plea, Majeed said the court had dropped an important section under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against him and there was a considerable delay in the commencement of trial.

He also said that the entire case against him was based on circumstantial evidence and added that there were around 140 witnesses against him and many of them were foreigners, hence the trial would not conclude soon.

Special judge V V Patil directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file its reply by May 29.

Last month, the court had framed charges against Majeed under sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of the UAPA and section 125 (waging war against any Asiatic power in alliance with the Government of India) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, Majeed had pleaded innocence to the charges framed against him.

In February this year, the court had dropped section 20 of the UAPA (being a member of terrorist organisation), saying that ISIS was not declared a terrorist organisation prior to February 16, 2015, (when case was registered) so the charge against the accused of commission of an offence punishable under section 20 of the UAPA cannot be framed.

Majeed, who hails from neighbouring Thane, had landed in Mumbai on November 28, 2014, from Turkey, following which he was detained by the security agencies and later arrested.

A case under sections of the UAPA and section 125 of the IPC (waging war against a country which has friendly ties with India) was registered against ISIS, Areeb and three others.

According to police, these four engineering students had flown to Baghdad on May 23, 2014, as a part of a group of 22 pilgrims to visit religious shrines in Iraq.

After returning to India, other pilgrims had told the police that Areeb, Fahad, Aman and Shaheen had gone to Fallujah.

On August 26, 2014, Shaheen Tanki called up Areeb’s family and told them that their son had become a ‘martyr’ while fighting for ISIS in Syria. Areeb’s family had even performed ‘janaza-e-gayabana’ (prayers for the departed soul in absence of the body) in Kalyan. However, later Areeb returned and was arrested.