NEW DELHI (AP) — Police filed charges in an Indian court Tuesday accusing a journalist of conspiracy in a bomb attack that wounded an Israeli diplomat’s wife in the capital in February.
Magistrate Vinod Yadav will soon hear arguments by the prosecution and the defense attorney on whether to formally charge and try Syed Mohammad Kazmi, the 50-year-old freelance journalist who reportedly worked for some Iranian news organizations.
Kazmi is the only person arrested in the five-month investigation. The Press Trust of India news agency said he faces charges relating to terrorist activities, attempt to murder and other illegal activities. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Kazmi denies the charges. Prosecutors could not be reached for details.
The same day as the New Delhi blast, a bomb was discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The next day, three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand. Israeli authorities said the similarity between their explosives and the two earlier bombs linked Iran to all three incidents. Iran has denied any involvement.
During the investigation, New Delhi police also issued arrest warrants for three Iranian men who had left the country and were previously in contact with Kazmi. One of those men, Housan Afshar, had also been in contact with Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, who was arrested in Malaysia and accused of involvement in the Bangkok blast.
Police said the Iranians had performed reconnaissance at the Israeli Embassy in May last year before returning to New Delhi early this year to plan the attack. Two of the three suspects left India before the attack and the third left shortly afterward. Police said Kazmi was deeply involved in the reconnaissance.
Indian investigators are likely to visit Iran soon to question some suspects who they believe are in that country. Iranian authorities have accepted the Indian request and dates for the visit are likely to be set soon, PTI said.
According to police, Kazmi visited Iran twice last year, promised to help the attackers in India and was paid $5,500. Besides helping with surveillance of the embassy, Kazmi booked a plane ticket for one of the Iranians to leave the country.
A scooter allegedly used by Kazmi and Afshar for reconnaissance near the Israeli Embassy was found parked at Kazmi’s home in the Indian capital.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.