Lahore: The alleged financier of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, who supplied nearly Rs 4 million to the LeT men, has been sent to judicial remand after the Pakistani anti-terrorism court hearing the case did not allow the FIA to have his custody for more days.
Sufayan Zafar has joined the other six suspects – Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Mohammad Younis Anjum – in the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where they are lodged since 2009.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai attack, is living at an undisclosed location after being released from jail on bail over a year ago.
The anti-terrorism court sent Zafar on the judicial remand on Saturday noting that the Federal Investigation Agency had been given enough time to probe the suspect, a source in the FIA told PTI today.
He is accused of providing Rs 3.98 million to co-accused Riaz through account no. 2338-2 of the Muslim Commercial Bank’s Drigh Road branch in Karachi and account no. 2464-0 of the Allied Bank’s Drigh Colony branch in Karachi prior to the Mumbai terror attack.
During interrogation by the FIA, he was quizzed over providing millions of rupees to the suspected terrorists of the Mumbai attack case, his relations with them and other absconding suspects, the source said.
“The FIA has interrogated Zafar for providing financial assistance to the co-accused in the Mumbai case besides his connection with the terrorists and the LeT. He was also interrogated for the channel/source from which he got the huge sum of money to provide it to the co-accused,” he said.
Zafar was absconding after being declared proclaimed offender in the Mumbai case. He was arrested early this month (on August 3 or 4) from his hideout in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. A resident of Gujrawala district of Punjab – some 80 kms from Lahore, Zafar is among 21 other absconding suspects wanted in this high-profile case.
According to court documents, the other suspects who allegedly arranged funds for the attacks include undertrial Ahmed and Anjum and proclaimed offenders Mohammad Usman Zia, Mukhtar Ahmed, Abbas Nasir and Javed Iqbal.
The FIA wanted more time to investigate him further, the source said, adding that the agency would indict him along with the seven other suspects of the case in the trial court after completing his challan.
The trial court will resume the hearing of the case on September 7 after over a month-long court summer vacation.
Defence lawyers are of the view that indicting Zafar along with the seven accused may further delay the conclusion of the case, which has been pending in an anti-terrorism court (ATC) since 2009, due to repeating the exercise of cross- examining witnesses in the light of the new arrest.
“Since the trial is being conducted under Section 21-M of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, Zafar may be tried along with seven suspects for an offence they are alleged to have committed in connivance with each other,” Raja Rizwan Abbasi, counsel for Lakhvi, told the Dawn.
“The Mumbai attack case has returned to 2009 when the trial against the seven suspects began,” Abbasi said.
He further said that seven years after its commencement, the case was still at zero point and the prosecution would take another seven to eight years to repeat the exercise.
“The interned accused cannot wait for such a long period and have the right to move the court for post-arrest bail,” he said, adding the prosecution had no option but to seek a joint trial of Zafar along with the seven suspects.
The prosecution has concluded evidence of all 68 Pakistani witnesses and requested the court to summon 24 Indian witnesses.
The trial proceedings have come to a halt as India is yet to send 24 witnesses to Pakistan for recording of their statements in the trial court.
Pakistan says the trial cannot be concluded unless India sends its nationals for recording their statements in the case.
As many as 166 people were killed and over 250 injured in the attack carried out by 10 LeT men.
Nine assailants were killed while the lone survivor, Ajmal Kasab, was captured and later executed.