India has withdrawn a list of “most-wanted” fugitives and is currently in the process of preparing a new list of fugitives that it claims are hiding in Pakistan after two of the fugitives, were found in India – one of them in prison.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), today accepted its responsibility in the second case of a fugitive who featured on the list given to Pakistan, but was found lodged in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.
The way it happened was, CBI ‘forgot’ that Feroz Abdul Khan, alias Hamza, 51, an accused in 1993 Mumbai blast case, was arrested from a village in Navi Mumbai in February last year. And the fact that the CBI forgot to withdraw a Red Corner notice issued in 1994 when it was looking for him caused the error.
“The CBI has conveyed to the Home Ministry that the lapse was on the agency’s part. When the CBI forwarded the list to the MHA, they forgot to delete the name of this person,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
The matter came to light when Khan’s lawyer Farzana Shah alerted Arthur Road jail authorities and the media, AFP reported.
“It’s criminal negligence and lack of co-ordination between the agencies,” the lawyer said of his client’s appearance on the most-wanted list. Mumbai Police “have not coordinated” with the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Shah said.
Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute of Conflict Management and a homeland security specialist, said the errors were embarrassing.
He said they were bound to happen because India does not have a centralised police database to share information between security agencies, leaving the process open to human error.
Khan had spent years in Dubai and Nepal before quietly returning to India in 2004 and settling down in Kopri village in Koparkhairne, Navi Mumbai. He kept making intermittent foreign trips under false names, often using his brother’s passport, and was once detained in the US.
Mumbai Police had alleged that following Dawood Ibrahim’s instructions, Khan arranged the shipment of arms and ammunition allegedly used in the blast.
He was arrested within days of returning from Oman in February 2010 and handed over to the CBI a week later. Earlier, Wazhur Kamar Khan, whose name had also figured in India’s most wanted list, was traced to Mumbai.
However, top government sources said the setback did not mean India was withdrawing the list of names given to Pakistan. All that would happen is more thorough vetting of the list. “India will send a revised list of fugitives to Pakistan after a thorough verification and a correction process,” said a top government official.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.
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