Second goof-up in India's 'most-wanted' list

Another fugitive, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, was arrested from a village in Navi Mumbai in February 2010.


Aditi Phadnis May 20, 2011



The first indications that something was wrong came when NDTV anchor Barkha Dutta tweeted: another ‘wanted’ found.


Then the facts came out: another accused – Feroz Abdul Khan – named in the list of 50 most wanted terrorists believed to be hiding in Pakistan had been found inside India, following which a CBI inspector was suspended and two of its senior officials transferred.

Earlier this week, Wazhul Kamar Khan, an accused in the Mulund blast case was found to living in Mumbai, out on bail. He was the 41st name in India’s most wanted list given to Pakistan.

Feroz Abdul Khan, alias Hamza, 51, is an accused in the 1993 Mumbai blast case and the 24th name in the Most Wanted list.

He was arrested from a village in Navi Mumbai in February 2010 and is reportedly under judicial custody and locked up in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail. During the Home Secretary level talks in March this year, a list of most wanted fugitives was handed over to Pakistani authorities. It contained Feroz Abdul’s name.

Meanwhile, realising that the issue could yet again embarrass the union government and could even cause a political crisis, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was asked by the government to formally speak on the matter. The agency has started an independent investigation on the appearance of Feroz in an Indian jail.

“We are examining the matter. If this is found correct, we will take strict action against all the erring officials,” said CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra.

CBI had issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Khan in 1994 but the notice was not withdrawn even after the agency had got his custody.

“CBI has conveyed to the Home Ministry that the lapse was on the agency’s part. When CBI forwarded the list to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), they forgot to delete the name of this person,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

After the huge embarrassment over the goof-up over Wazhul Kamar Khan in India’s most wanted list of fugitives in Pakistan, his profile was dropped from the CBI’s website.

On Wednesday, Home Minister P Chidambaram accepted the inclusion of terror accused Wazhul Kamar Khan in the list of most-wanted fugitives given to Pakistan was a “mistake”. He said it was a “genuine error” by Mumbai Police and an “oversight” by the Intelligence Bureau, NDTV reported.

“There was a mistake. We are not trying to blame anyone. We take responsibility for it,” said Mr Chidambaram adding that the Red-Corner alert should have been cancelled and Wazhul Khan’s name deleted from the list.

The Home Minister said the CBI was not informed of Wazhul Khan’s arrest by the Mumbai police. “It was also a lapse on the part of the Intelligence Bureau (IB),” admitted Mr Chidambaram.

Wazhul Khan is alleged to have facilitated transport and distribution of arms and ammunitions during the blast and subsequently, Mumbai police had alleged that following Dawood Ibrahim’s instructions, Khan arranged for landing of arms allegedly used in the blast.

“We are examining the matter and strict action will be initiated against erring officials,” CBI spokesperon Dharini Mishra said.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted today saying “Another goof up. Feroze serial number 24 in India’s Most wanted
list given to Pakistan is in Mumbai jail. To err is Government of India.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2011.


COMMENTS (51)

Abhinav | 10 years ago | Reply @Gujjar Bin Laden was terrorist even when he was on USA payroll, only thing is that USA was not calling him a terrorist. If you look retrospective, the mujahidin fighting soviets were no saints and were simple terrorists, it would have been wise for Pakistan to stay away from fight between US and USSR at that time.
Khalid Rahim | 10 years ago | Reply We are waiting for B Raman to give his critical analysis on this topic!
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