Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday told a special court that they need to arrest an associate of Pratap Hazra, the 34-year-old who they allege to have provided arms training to the accused in the Nalasopara arms haul case.
The agency had also told the court that Hazra had revealed the name of his associate. They have taken a mirror image of his phone and needed to confront him and also verify his bank account details to find the source of funding, they told the court. It is suspected that Hazra was paid to provide training to the co-accused in the case and that he was also accompanied by another man during the training, who is currently absconding, the ATS said.
When asked by the court if he was ill-treated, Hazra said he was beaten on his knees and knuckles with a belt. The court asked the staff to check and did not find merit in his complaint.
Appearing for Hazra, his advocate argued that once the associate is arrested, Hazra’s custody could be sought as one does not know how long it might take to nab him. The court extended his custody till February 3.
34-year-old Pratap Hazra was arrested on January 20 from Usthti in South Parganas of West Bengal by the Bengal Special Task Force and ATS. The West Bengal resident is said to have been on the run since a case was registered in the Nalasopara arms haul case in 2018 and many of his associates started getting arrested one by one. His is the thirteenth arrest in the case. In the raid to co-accused Vaibhav Raut’s flat in 2018, ATS had found apart from raw materials to make bombs and detonators, 20 crude bombs, gelatin sheets, a note on how to prepare bombs, a six-volt battery, loose wires and transistors.
The ATS had said in their chargesheet filed in the case that the accused were members of Hindutva organizations such as Sanathan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti and were motivated towards establishing a Hindu Rashtra.