KOCHI: The NIA has approached the French authorities seeking access to Muhammad Usman Ghani, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative and alleged conspirator of the 2015 Paris attack, in connection with the probe into Islamic State (IS)-related cases in India.
The move comes at a time when NIA has been initiating steps to provide the French investigation team probing the Paris attack access to Subahani Haja Moideen, an IS operative lodged in a Kerala jail.
A Letter Rogatory has been sent to a court in France to provide NIA access to Ghani, who is in judicial custody abroad for his involvement in the Paris attack, which claimed more than 130 lives.
According to a source, Ghani, a Pakistan national, was associated with LeT. An expert bomb-maker, Ghani was linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks as well. He was arrested from Austria after investigations revealed his involvement in the Paris attack.
“The Letter Rogatory was sent to a court in France where the legal proceedings of the Paris attack are taking place. As India and France have signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, we hope the access will be provided,” the source said.
Ghani will be interrogated to get information of the IS roots in India.
Also, his statement will be recorded to verify the deposition made by Subahani, currently lodged in the Thrissur Central Jail, about the life in the IS camps in Iraq and Syria, where he worked for five months in 2015. By interrogating Ghani, the NIA is expected to get vital information about his connection with LeT leadership and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
“The IS operatives in India were coordinated from Syria and Iraq. Ghani will be familiar with more Indian IS operatives who moved to Syria and Iraq. From the legal perspective, the information Subahani shared will be verified during Ghani’s interrogation,” the source said.
Paris attack probe team in Kerala on Wednesday
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has received court permission to interrogate Subahani Haja Moideen in the presence of the French team probing the 2015 Paris attack, from December 5-7. Subahani, who was arrested in October 2016 in connection with the probe into the Kanakamala IS case, is currently lodged at Thrissur Central Jail.
Jail officers said they have received a directive for providing facilities to the Paris attack probe team to complete the procedure. “The NIA and Prison Headquarters have informed us the probe team will be visiting the jail to interrogate Subahani on Wednesday. We have not been informed about any change in schedule,” said an officer at Thrissur Central Jail.