The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday charge-sheeted eight persons, including a life convict and two absconders, in a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Prison radicalization and ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attack conspiracy case.

Among the charge-sheeted accused, T. Naseer of Kannur, Kerala, is serving a life sentence in Central Prison, Bengaluru, since 2013, while Junaid Ahmed @ JD and Salman Khan are suspected to have fled abroad, a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) reads.

The statement identified the others as Syed Suhail Khan @ Suhail, Mohammed Umar @ Umar, Zahid Tabrez @ Zahid, Syed Mudassir Pasha and Mohammed Faisal Rabbani @ Sadath.

“All eight accused persons have been charge-sheeted under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Substances Act and Arms Act. The case was originally registered by the Bengaluru City Police on 18th July 2023 following a seizure of arms, ammunition, hand-grenades and walkie-talkies from the possession of seven of the accused persons. The recovery was made while the seven men were gathered in the house of one of the accused,” the statement said.

It added that investigations into the case, which was taken over by NIA in October 2023, revealed that T Naseer, who was involved in several blast cases, had come in contact with the other accused while they were all lodged in Bengaluru Prison during 2017.

“While Salam was in Prison then in a POCSO case, the others were involved in a murder case. Naseer had managed to get them all shifted to his barracks after a careful assessment of their potential with a view to radicalize and recruit them into the LeT. He first managed to radicalize and recruit Junaid and Salman to further the activities of the LeT; thereafter, he conspired with Junaid to radicalize and recruit the other accused,” it further added.

Junaid, following his release from Prison, was believed to have fled abroad after committing some more offences.

As per NIA investigations, he began sending funds to his co-accused from abroad to promote LeT activities within and outside the prison. He also conspired with Salman to deliver arms, ammunition, hand grenades and walkie talkies to the others, as part of a plot to carry out a ‘fidayeen’ attack and help Naseer escape from Police custody en-route to court.

“Junaid also instructed his co-accused to steal used Police caps for the attack and to commit arson on government buses as a practice run. The plot was foiled with the seizure of the arms etc in July last year. Further, investigations in the case (RC-28/2023/NIA/DLI) are continuing in accordance with the provisions of section 173(8) of Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC),” the statement added—(KNO)