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May 18, 2000
CBI to approach Interpol in IC 814 hijack case
The Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to approach Interpol to issue a red corner notice for nabbing the hijackers of Indian Airlines IC 814, who are believed to be in Pakistan, and extraditing them.
CBI sources said the decision to approach Interpol was taken after a special CBI court in Patiala issued warrants against hijackers Ibrahim Athar, Sunny Ahmed Aqzi, Zahoor Ibrahim, Shahid Akhter Sayed and Shakir and their accomplices Yusuf Azar and Abdul Rauf, who are believed to be the key conspirators in the hijacking drama.
The investigating agency will approach Interpol in the coming days and request it to facilitate the arrest of the culprits and extradite them to India, the sources disclosed. Pakistan is also a member of Interpol.
Five hijackers and their two accomplices are wanted in connection with the hijacking of IC-814 from Kathmandu on December 24,1999. The flight was on its return journey to New Delhi when it was hijacked and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The week-long hijacking drama ended on December 31 after the Indian government agreed to release three hardcore Pakistani terrorists in exchange for the lives of more than 150 passengers.
Rauf and Athar are believed to be the brother and brother-in-law respectively of Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the three militants released by the Indian government. Athar is said to be a resident of Bhawalpur, while other hijackers hail from the port city of Karachi, according information available with the CBI.
The Special Investigating Team of the CBI, headed by CBI joint director (special crime) M L Sharma was also likely to visit Kathmandu and Dubai shortly to establish Pakistan's suspected role in the hijacking episode.
The attempt of the agency was to acquire 'clinching evidence' against Pakistan for proving its hand in the hijacking, the sources hinted.
Investigators are also likely to visit Amritsar where IC-814 was taken for refuelling. Some police officials from Amritsar have been summoned to seek information from them regarding the case, the sources said.
Besides, the government has already the Nepalese government to facilitate interrogation of the airport officials concerned regarding the hijacking.
The government has involved all investigating agencies -- CBI, Research and Analysis Wing and Intelligence Bureau -- for the case. The National Security Guard and the ministry of civil aviation are also involved in the investigation process.
So far three persons -- Abdul Latif alias Patel, Bhupalmar Damai alias Nepali and Dalip Kumar -- have been arrested in connection with the case and all of them have been remanded into judicial custody by a Patiala court. The West Bengal police have also arrested Bala, a suspected Bangladeshi.
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