Court has granted National Investigation Agency (NIA) another 90 days to keep the accused in the car of PMK activist Ramalingam’s murder, under custody. The order came after the agency argued that this is not a mere case of murder but an act of terrorism which was carried out to create fear in the hearts of people from other religions.
The NIA also confirmed that the accused belonged to the Popular Front of India, an Islamist group banned in certain states for engaging in fundamentalist and anti-national activities.
The primary argument made by the NIA for continued custody was that investigations revealed not only murderous intentions but also efforts to cause communal disharmony in the society. The accused were allegedly attempting to create fear in the minds of a particular section of people in addition to attacking the sovereignty of the country. The NIA has also called the murder a ‘terrorist act’.
“The investigation revealed that the accused persons had hatched criminal conspiracy, recruited persons, collected weapon, collected vehicles etc, for committing the terrorist act and acted themselves as a terrorist gang. Moreover, the statements of witnesses as well as the confession of the accused persons reveal that they were in promotion of ‘Jihadi’ activities which has to be probed further during the course of investigation,” reads the report.
The court’s judgement, which TNM has a copy of, comes after arguments made both by NIA Special Public prosecutor CSS Pillai and the lawyers representing the 10 accused. Six others accused in the case are currently absconding. With their initial custody of 90 days ending, the NIA sought an extension after narrating the circumstances of the crimes, the modus operandi and the need to continue questioning the accused.
The 10 men currently in custody include Mohamed Asarudeen (A1), Mohamed Riyas (A2), Nijam Ali (A3), Sarbudeen (A4), Mohamed Rishwan (A5), Mohamed Thowfik (A6), Mohamed Parvish(A7), Thowqeeth Batch(A8), Mohamed Ibrahim(A9) and Mohamed Hassan Kuthous(A10).
Ramalingam, 45, was murdered by a gang on the night of February 5 at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, after he opposed religious conversion program carried out by Islamists in a Dalit dominated village.
The PMK functionary was intercepted by a car-borne gang on a Muslim Street at midnight and was attacked with lethal weapons resulting in fatal injuries. Subsequently, he was rushed to the Government District Headquarters Hospital, Kumbakonam, from there he was referred to the Government Medical College Hospital, Thanjavur, where he was declared dead.