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December 27, 1999
Hijackers did not board flight under aliases
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
The earlier surmise that the hijackers of Indian Airlines Flight 814 may have boarded the plane under assumed names has turned out to be wrong.
At least three of the six hijackers whose identities were confirmed by the government figure in the list of passengers who boarded the plane at Kathmandu on Friday. And the Nepalese hijacker, Gopal Tamrakar, figures at number 148.
One R I Mistri also figures in the list of passengers. There is some confusion about the identity of the sixth hijacker who has been named in the list as S A Sayeed.
While Tamrakar is said to be a smuggler of drugs and arms, not much is known about the others.
Though S A Qazi has been confirmed by government sources as one of the hijackers, the airline contradicted speculation that the 'Qazi family' could have been behind the hijacking. It said Qazi travelled executive class and the "dittos" under his name in the passenger manifest referred to three passengers who were upgraded from economy class. These three were Mr and Mrs Grover and Mrs R Kaur.
These passengers were initially assigned seats 25G, 25H and 24G, but were subsequently upgraded to executive class in seats 1C, 1D and 2C.
Qazi and one other hijacker occupied seats in the front. Tamrakar was seated on 24B as per the airline's seating list.
An impression was created by the passenger manifest released by Indian Airlines on December 24 that four passengers under the same name were given boarding passes and could be the hijackers.
The airline also said no passengers without tickets boarded the flight. The names of all passengers as per the manifest are based on the names shown on the ticket.
The airline also denied that any of its officials at Kathmandu had been arrested or brought to Delhi.
It also contradicted the report that some passengers directly boarded the Indian Airlines aircraft from a Pakistan International Airlines plane at Tribhuvan International Airport. The PIA flight landed at 0930 Nepal Time and left at 1038. Flight IC-814 landed at Kathmandu at 1525 Nepal Time and left at 1615.
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