”Most wanted” fugitive found in Thane, probe ordered

Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil

MUMBAI/AGARTALA: In a huge embarrassment to India, a terror accused whose name figured in the list of 50 most wanted fugitives given to Pakistan has been found to be living in a suburb of Mumbai, prompting the government to order a probe into the goof up.

Wazhul Kamar Khan, who was one of those whose name figures in the list of fugitives sought by India from Pakistan, has been found staying in Thane, neighboring Mumbai.

Khan, who was arrested last year for his alleged role in the 2003 Mulund train blasts here, has been living in Thane’s Waghle Estate with his mother, wife and children, after he was let out on bail, police sources said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram sought to play down the goof up saying a big issue should not be made out of one wrong name.

“I did not prepare the list. It was prepared months ago.

Just one name….whether it is the same person or two persons of same name, we have to see.

“Be that as it may. If you prepare a list of 50 people, one name, assuming that we are wrong in one name, 49 are right. I don’t think we should make a big issue of it. It is possible there could be an error or there could be two people with same name. I will go back and check,” he said in Agartala.

Official sources said in New Delhi that an inquiry has been ordered to find out how Khan’s name was included in the list.

Khan’s name is number 41 in the list which was given to Pakistan in March and made public last week. The list was prepared in consultation with Maharashtra Police, National Investigation Agency and Central Bureau of Investigation.

The probe will cover the whole process of preparing the list at different stages and pin-point the officials responsible in including the name of Khan, who was arrested last year for his alleged role in the 2003 Mulund train blasts.

“It could have been a cut and paste job at some stage.

We will find out who is responsible for it,” a source said.

Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said he is looking into the issue.

“I have sought information in the matter,” Patil said, when asked about police being left red-faced after reports that the apparent goof up by the Crime Branch and ATS here led to Wazhul’s inclusion in the most wanted list.

Wazhul Kamar Khan, who is on bail, said he was shocked to learn that his name appeared in the 50 most wanted list.

“I am here in Thane since years and how come they included my name in the most wanted list, that was sent to Pakistan. I was told to meet police officials today,” 44-year-old Khan told PTI.

Khan, who is into zari business, had a passport which he lost sometime back and said he has never been to Pakistan.

“I am innocent in all the cases. I had no role to play in the Mulund or any other blasts. In whatever cases I was falsely implicated, I have been regularly attending court proceedings and I am sure that I will prove my innocence in the court,” Khan said.

He had been to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for a few years after being implicated in the blasts cases here, Khan said.

“When I returned, I started a zari manufacturing unit in Mumbai’s Dharavi area. By showing me as one of the 50 most wanted accused, the police are making my life hell,” he said.

Khan’s wife Ayesha said the family had never visited Pakistan and have been living in Thane for last 12 years.

“It is all false,” she said when asked about the dossier in which it was mentioned that Khan had been to Pakistan. She said the family hails from Uttar Pradesh.

Khan’s cousin Tajuddin Choudhary wondered, “How come the security agencies include my brother’s name in the list when he has been here since years doing zari business? It is a blunder on the part of security agencies. Khan is the only breadwinner at home.”

City Deputy Police Commissioner (Operations), Rajkumar Vhatkar, however, refused to comment on the goof-up.

Khan is also an accused in the 2003 Vile-Parle and Ghatkopar blasts besides the 2002 Mumbai Central station blasts.

The Vile Parle, Mulund and Ghatpokar cases have been clubbed together and the trial is yet to begin, the sources said.

On March 13, 2003, 11 people were killed and over 80 injured when a bomb exploded in a ladies coach at the Mulund Railway Station here.

In January the same year, an explosion took place near the suburban railway station in Vile Parle in which one person was killed and over 25 injured.

Later in July 2003, a bomb exploded in a public transport bus in Ghatkopar, claiming four lives and leaving several others injured. In December 2002, an explosion near McDonalds in Mumbai Central station had left 25 people injured.

Khan is accused of having transported bombs to these sites to execute the blasts.

The list of 50 most wanted fugitives hiding in Pakistan include underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and dreaded terrorist Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

-PTI

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