Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ATS team gained time as Usmani lost nerve at Indo-Nepal border

Afzal Usmani



He Had Plans For Cross-Nation Business In Stolen Vehicles

 

Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Had the state antiterrorism squad (ATS) reached the Indo-Nepal border just 30 minutes late, suspected terror operative Afzal Usmani would have crossed over into the neighbouring country. The alleged Indian Mujahideen member was merely 250 metres away from the entrance point when he ran out of luck.
 
    Afraid that he would be questioned by security personnel at the entrance if he were to approach it alone, Usmani, who was near Rupaidiha rail station in UP’s Bahraich district, started to wait for families and groups of people so that he could mingle with them to avoid being singled out. The ATS team, which had reached the area in the meantime, spotted him with a nervous, impatient look on his face.
 
    “When he saw men in uniform approach him, he surrendered without offering any resistance. He told the policemen he was scared of being killed in an encounter,” said an officer. “Vehicles are not allowed to cross the border at night. That’s why Usmani was waiting for a few more people to arrive so that he could walk the distance along with them, hiding in the crowd.” 

    It is common for security personnel on both sides of the border to question those who approach the entrance alone. Usmani was scared of Nepalese
security personnel as well; he thought they could detain him as their Indian counterparts might have alerted them about him. 

    During his interrogation, Usmani said he had planned to start a car business in Nepal. The cars were to be stolen from Mumbai and smuggled into Nepal, said an officer. “He told us that stealing cars in Mumbai was safer than stealing them in UP or Bihar as Mumbai police teams were unlikely to go all the way till the Nepal border just to search for stolen cars.”

 
PROBE PROGRESS
    
The ATS on Tuesday summoned a barber from Sion-Dharavi Road who had given Afzal Usmani a haircut and a shave on September 20, the day the alleged IM operative escaped the police at a sessions court in Mumbai. The police recorded his statement
    The ATS recorded the statement of tea stall owner Shaikh Akmal, from whom Usmani had borrowed Rs 600 the same day
    A police team visited Borivli to inquire about Usmani’s bus ticket for Surat
    Usmani was taken to KEM Hospital for a check-up. He was found fit 
 



The Times of India, October 30, 2013

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