The Central Bureau of Investigation has requested Pakistan to arrest and hand over the five hijackers of the Kathmandu-New Delhi Indian Airlines flight.
The agency has requested the handing over of the hijackers,
believed to be in hiding in Pakistan, for prosecution in India.
This is the first direct contact that the premier investigating
agency has established with Islamabad for the arrest of the culprits
and their handing over to India for trial in connection with the
December 24, 1999 hijacking of the flight between Kathmandu and New
Delhi with 190 passengers and crew members of board. One person,
Ripen Katyal, was killed by the hijackers.
The agency had earlier made a request to the Pakistan government
through Interpol. The request, in May last year, is pending, with no response from the international police.
''After waiting for nearly a year for a response from Interpol, we decided to directly get in touch with Pakistan for the arrest of the hijackers, who are believed to be hiding in that country,'' highly placed agency sources told UNI.
Interpol in July last year issued a 'red corner' alert in several countries, including Pakistan, Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Bangladesh against five hijackers - Ibrahim Athar, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, Zahoor Ibrahim, Shahid Akhter Sayed and Shakir, and accomplices Yusuf Azhar and Abdul Rauf -- believed to be key conspirators in the hijacking.
One of the accused had surfaced in Britain.
The bureau, the sources said, was also in constant touch with
their counterparts in Nepal, Bangladesh, Dubai and Britain. The need
to investigate the matter in these countries arise as the conspiracy
to hijack the plane was hatched in Dhaka and executed in Kathmandu.
The flight hijacked soon after take off from Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu was taken to Dubai en route to Kandahar.
The agency was also taking the assistance of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was carrying out a parallel inquiry into the hijacking, on the basis of a complaint filed by its national, Jean Moore, who was on board the flight.
The FBI has questioned a number of passengers and crew of the IC-814. Its team has visited all places connected with the crime -- India, Nepal, Dubai, England and Bangladesh.
The agency came across certain vital clues about the hijacking
during the visit of its inquiry teams to Dubai and Nepal.
On the response of Interpol, with which the agency had been in constant touch, the sources said; ''We are yet to be intimated about the progress of the alert notice and the steps taken by the countries concerned to execute the directive.''
In view of the slow progress of the case on the part of the Interpol,
the agency had also sent its special investigating team to Kathmandu and Dubai in an effort to establish Pakistan's suspected involvement in the hijacking of the IC-814.
India had to release three hardcore Inter-Service Intelligence terrorists for the safety of 152 passengers and 11 crew, who were held captive at Kandahar in Afghanistan for eight days between December 24 and December 31.
The hijackers had released 26 women and children in Dubai, in between
the ordeal, and had claimed the life of Katyal, a Delhi resident who was returning after his honeymoon in the Nepalese capital.
The Indian Airlines flight was hijacked soon after take-off
from Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu on December 24
and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan after attempting refuelling at
Amritsar, Lahore and Abu Dhabi.
So far, Abdul Latif alias Patel, Bhupalmar Damai
alias Nepali, Dalip Kumar and Balal, a suspected Bangladeshi -- have
been arrested in connection with the case and have been remanded to
Latif and Nepali are alleged to have provided logistical support
to the hijackers and helped them procure Indian passports.
The Complete Coverage: The Nightmare of Flight 814
The Hijack: One Year On
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