KOCHI: Arshi Qureshi and Rizwan Khan-- controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s aides-- arrested in connection with the case relating to the disappearance of local girl Merin aka Mariyam, who is believed to have joined the ranks of the so-called Islamic State(IS) group after her forcible conversion to Islam, were on Monday remanded in judicial custody till September 15. The court will consider the bail plea of the accused later.
It was following the completion of the 29 day-long police remand that the duo were produced before the Principal District and Sessions Court here.
According to the investigators, Qureshi and Rizwan had conspired with Bestin Vincent aka Yahiya of Palakkad, his brother Bexan aka Eesa and five others, to forcibly convert Merin aka Mariyam, wife of Bestin, to Islam before taking her to Tehran for joining the dreaded terror outfit.
Bestin, Merin, Bexon and his wife-- Thiruvananthapuram Attukal native Nimisha alias Fathima-- had left for the Iranian capital on one-month’s visiting visa. Though the four persons had booked return tickets while applying for the visa, they never made the journey.
The court had earlier extended the police custody of Qureshi,45, and Rizwan Khan,53, till Monday. Bestin has been made the first accused in the case, while Islamic preachers Arshi Qureshi and Rizwan Khan are the second and third accused, respectively. Though the police submitted that Rizwan Khan had stayed in Ernakulam city, Mattancherry and Thiruvananthapuram to attend business meets and to deliver religious discourses in 1999-2000, they could not gather hard evidence to substantiate the charge.
The investigators have traced the IP address of messages sent by Rasheed Abdulla, who had gone missing from Kasargod after allegedly recruiting people to the IS, to Afghanistan. According to the officials, a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) had been registered against Qureshi and Rizwan at Nagpada Police station in Mumbai in connection with the missing of Ashfaq, another Kasargod youth.
Assistant Commissioner, Ernakulam, K Lalji is heading the investigation.