Wait till July 5 to apply for Ansari custody: Delhi court to police

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch will have to wait till July 5 to secure the custody of alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and 26/11 handler Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal (31).

The Tis Hazari court in Delhi had asked the Delhi Police for their say on the matter after the Crime Branch sent a production warrant for Ansari through a magistrate court in Mumbai. Crime Branch sources said the Delhi Police told the court on Wednesday that they could not give Ansari's custody to the Mumbai Police as their investigations are on.

Ansari was arrested from the Indira Gandhi International Airport on June 21. He was later remanded in the custody of the Delhi Police Special Cell as he was booked by them under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Passport Act.

"The Delhi Police told the court that they need the custody of Ansari for the cases in which he is booked there. The court told us to wait till July 5 before we can apply for custody. Our warrant has been reserved till then," said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Niket Kaushik.

Crime Branch sources said they are expecting Ansari's custody soon, but several other police agencies, including the NIA, are said to be waiting to interrogate him. Sources also revealed that there was a possibility that the NIA would want Ansari in their custody after his remand with the Delhi Police ends.

"While the NIA may want his custody next, the main 26/11 case lies with us. We are hopeful of getting Ansari's custody next," said a Crime Branch officer, who did not wish to be named.

Kaushik said Ansari would be provided high security once he is brought to Mumbai. "We will have to ensure that he is kept securely when we get his custody. Several steps will have to be taken to ensure he remains protected," he said.

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