An Indian man accused of involvement in deadly bomb attacks five years ago has escaped from a court in Mumbai, prompting a massive manhunt, according to police.

Afzal Usmani, allegedly a member of a home-grown armed group known as the Indian Mujahideen, was appearing in court on Friday to hear prosecution charges against him, local media reported.

"He has escaped. The police, everybody is looking for him," Rakesh Maria, Mumbai's anti-terrorism squad chief, told AFP news agency.

Usmani was arrested in 2008 for his alleged involvement earlier that year in serial blasts in western Gujarat state that killed 56 people.

He provided cars that transported explosives for the attacks in the city of Ahmedabad, investigators say.

He is also facing charges linking him to an attempted bombing in the city of Surat.

It was not immediately clear how Usmani escaped amid heavy police security at the court.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies