Mathura court issues warrant to produce two terror accused PFI activists before it from Lucknow jail

MATHURA: A Mathura court on Thursday sought production of two PFI activists before it from a Lucknow jail where they have been lodged following their arrest last month for allegedly plotting to execute a series of blast in the state capital and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh.

Additional Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Pandey issued the production warrant for producing accused PFI activists Anshad Badruddin and Firoz Khan, both Karala natives, in his court on March 8, District Government Counsel Shiv Ram Singh said.

Singh said ASJ Pandey issued the warrant against the duo on a plea by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force, which said the two had confessed to their involvement in the PFI funding to Delhi-based Kerala Siddique Kappan and his three accomplices to foment trouble after the death of a Hathras gangrape victim.

Kappan and his alleged associates were arrested last year on October 5 by Mant police when they were on their way to the Hathras village.

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They were arrested earlier on the apprehension of causing a breach of peace but were later slapped with stringent charges of sedition and terror acts besides the breach of the Information Technology Act.

Anshad Badruddin and Firoz Khan were arrested in mid-February from Lucknow by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad and a huge cache of arms and ammunition, including 16 explosive devices, batteries and detonators, a pistol and live cartridges, were recovered from their possession.

Following their arrest, UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar had dubbed Anshad as the national head of the PFI’s ‘Hit Squad’ and Firoz as the PFI’s national trainer for making bombs.

Kumar had also accused the two of planning to execute multiple blasts across Lucknow and Uttar Pradesh to mark the ‘Popular Front Day’  the foundation day of their outfit which falls on February 17.

Mathura District Counsel Shiv Ram Singh said STF Deputy Superintendent of Police Vinod Sirohi told the court in his March 2 application that both accused had confessed to their involvement in funding journalist Kappan.

STF had filed three applications seeking Mathura court’s permission to record statements of accused Asand and Feroz in Lucknow jail and matching of voice and signature of journalist Siddique Kappan.

Though Kappan’s signature was taken in court, his voice sample was not taken as the STF later withdrew its application for taking his voice sample.

Meanwhile, the court on Thursday slated March 10 for hearing the bail plea of Rauf Sherif, a PFI youth wing leader, who was brought to Mathura from Kerala by the STF for his alleged role in the PFI funding to Kappan and his accomplices allegedly for fomenting trouble after the death of Hathras gangrape victim.