In an exposé that is likely to deeply embarrass the government of India, local newspapers have revealed that one of the men on the list of the most wanted fugitives list submitted to Pakistan is actually living in a Mumbai suburb in India with his ailing mother, wife and five children, The Times of India reported, following a meeting with Wazhul Kamar Khan at his residence on Sunday
Wazhul Kamar Khan is wanted in about five cases which were clubbed together, including the 2003 train blast case in Mulund, near Mumbai. Khan, whose name appears on the list as Khan Wazhul Kamar, is currently out on bail and claims to be regularly presenting himself in court as per his bail conditions. He is an accused in the Mulund blast that killed 11 people, including four women and two police constables, and injured 82 people in 2003.
Last year, Khan was arrested and booked in five cases. These were the Mulund, Vile Parle, Ghatkopar-II and Mumbai Central blast cases, which have been clubbed together in the Pota court, and an Arms Act case. He was granted bail in three months in all the cases.
When asked about Khan and his name ending up on the list of fugitives, a senior police officer said, “He was arrested in the blast cases last year and is currently out on bail.”
Khan claimed he has never gone to Pakistan. He hid in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for about a year from 2003 to 2004, he said. He later started a zari business in Dharavi, the country’s biggest slum in Mumbai.
An Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team finally arrested him on May 10, 2010 in Kurla and booked him under the Arms Act for carrying a firearm. After getting bail, Khan was released from Arthur Road jail on August 18, 2010.
“Since my release, I have been focusing on establishing my zari business. I was hiding for years in Dharavi and continued my zari business from there. After the blasts I came to know through television news that the police had described me as one of the wanted.
“Scared, I fled to my relatives’ place in UP and returned to Mumbai a year later.” he added, “I am very much here and attend the court hearings regularly. So how can you say that I am hiding in Pakistan?”
Khan, who is now 44, said he was born and educated in Kurla. In 1998, he shifted to Wagle Estate. He is the 17th accused to be arrested in the Mulund train blast case.
“I did have a passport, but it was misplaced during the tamasha (period he was absconding),” added Khan. “My father passed away while I was absconding, but I managed to attend his funeral. I don’t want this to affect my business and I’m trying to get discharged from these cases,” he said.
Interestingly, three other accused in the Mulund blast case are also out on bail, after they were in jail for eight years, due to a delay in the trial.
Dr Abdul Ansari and Noor Abdul Malik were granted bail on a surety of Rs 50,000 each, while the third accused Kamil Ansari was granted bail on a surety of Rs 25,000.
Wahab Khan, lawyer for the accused, said the prosecution’s case against Dr Ansari was that a “partly-made” bomb was recovered from his clinic. “The prosecution had also submitted that Dr Ansari during his confessions had admitted that all the explosives used in the blast were manufactured at his clinic. However, I brought it to the notice of the court that the confession statement showed that at every point where he was made to sign, he had written in Urdu, ‘Galat hai’ (this is wrong),” Khan said, adding that the recovery of a pistol and Noor’s confession were not connected to the blast but to other cases.
Meanwhile, an embarrassed Indian government ordered an inquiry into the goof over the inclusion of Khan’s name in the list, reported The Times of India.
The inquiry was ordered by Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday to examine how Khan – an accused in several blasts in Mumbai and now on bail – became the 41st name in a list of 50 persons wanted who India believes are holed up in Pakistan. There were indications that heads may roll within central security organisations, the newspaper added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2011.
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