Police seek custody of two suspects in Mumbai attacks

MUMBAI, Dec 18, 2008 (AFP) - Two suspected members of an Islamist militant group blamed for the Mumbai attacks are to appear in court here Thursday, as police seek to detain them for questioning, a senior officer said.

Additional police commissioner (crime) Deven Bharti said Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin would be brought to court later as part of the inquiry into last month's attacks, which killed 172, including nine of the 10 gunmen.

"We will be seeking their custody... to check what their role was in connection with the case," he told AFP by telephone.

Ansari was arrested in February and accused of being trained by the banned Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba after an attack on a police camp in northern India.

He has been in jail in northern Uttar Pradesh state ever since. Police say he had in his possession hand-drawn maps of Mumbai landmarks, some of which were targeted in the November 26-29 attacks.

Sabauddin is said to be an accomplice.

Although Ansari is already in jail the move to secure custody for the pair is a legal requirement to state the grounds on which they are being held and questioned.

Mumbai police are probing whether the 10 militants, who arrived by boat before laying siege to two luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural centre, as well as firing at the station and a popular restaurant, had any local help.

The surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, is in custody and on remand until December 24. He faces charges of "waging war against the country", murder, attempted murder, plus firearms and explosives offences.

Iman has said the gunmen were trained and equipped by the Pakistan-based Laskhar-e-Taiba, according to police. The group has denied any involvement.

Source: AFP

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