Probe complete, but no trace of Diwali blasts mastermind (Three years after pre-Diwali blasts)

October 26th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Three years have gone by, but the suspected mastermind of the 2005 pre-Diwali terror bombings here is still absconding even as Delhi Police claim that investigations into the case are complete.Police are yet to lay their hands on Abu Alqama, commander of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), along with three accomplices linked to the blasts that claimed 61 lives.

Alqama, who is suspected to be in Pakistan, is also said to be indirectly controlling the shadowy Indian Mujahideen (IM) that has claimed responsibility for terror attacks across the country in the past two years, killing over 200 people and injuring hundreds.

Soon after the 2005 bombings, sleuths of Delhi Police’s Special Cell, an expert wing to combat terrorism, launched massive searches and arrested five LeT terror suspects - Tariq Ahmed Dar, Mohammed Rafiq Shah, Mohammed Hussain Fazli, Farooq Ahmed Batloo and Ghulam Ahmed Khan.

They were all booked under various sections of the Explosives Act as well as for criminal conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder. Their trial is pending in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Babulal.

Police officials say investigations into the case are over and the court started recording the statements of witnesses in August this year after charges were framed against the accused.

Dar, however, accused Delhi Police of framing him. The case is being heard every Saturday at the Tis Hazari Court.

Another suspected terrorist linked to the blast, Abu Afza, was gunned down in a shootout with Jammu and Kashmir police two years ago.

Apart from those arrested, five of those who have reportedly fled to Pakistan have been identified as Abu Alqama, Shajid Ali, Zaid and Rashid. Police say the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan is sheltering them.

“Interpol has rejected our request for a notice against LeT’s northern India commander Alqama and operative Zaid. Both are accused in the 2005 Delhi triple bomb blasts,” said Karnal Singh, joint commissioner of police (Special Cell).

“The request was rejected because we don’t know where exactly these militants are hiding. Our neighbouring country has always denied their presence in its country. So Interpol could not issue a notice for them,” Singh had told IANS.

Pointing to Alqama’s links to the Indian Mujahideen, police officials say he controls his operative Amir Rezza, who in turn was directing Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the cofounders of Indian Mujahideen. Bhatkal was in charge of two other co-founders, Mohammed Sadiq Sheikh and Atif Amin, police say.

Atif, a suspect in the Sep 13 blasts in Delhi, was gunned down in a shootout with Delhi Police in Jamia Nagar Sep 19. Police are looking for 26 more people, including Alqama, for the September blasts in Delhi that killed 26 people.

Some unconfirmed reports quoting officials from Jammu and Kashmir police, however, claim that Alqama was gunned down in his hometown of Gujranwala in Pakistan’s Punjab province by unidentified gunmen seven months ago.

But police forces in both Mumbai and Delhi maintain he is alive and well, controlling Indian Mujahideen cadres.

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