Sunday, February 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Ansari held in UAE, brought to Delhi
Tribune News Service and UNI

New Delhi, February 9
In a major tactical victory by India in its battle against terrorism, Aftab Ansari, alias Farhan Ali, prime suspect in the January 22 attack on the American Center in Kolkata, was brought here from Dubai by the CBI after his deportation by the UAE authorities.

Along with Ansari, another wanted criminal Raju Sharma, alias Rajender Kumar Anadkot, was also deported by the UAE authorities and arrested here by the CBI.

Both are Indian nationals. At the time of apprehension, Ansari was in possession of Pakistani travel documents. His passport, number J872142, was issued in Lahore in February, 2000, in the name of Shafiq Mohammad Rana.

This was formally announced at a special briefing in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) late tonight addressed jointly by Special Secretary (East) in the ministry Rajan Abhyankar and CBI Joint Director Neeraj Kumar.

An interesting disclosure made by Mr Kumar was that Aftab Ansari was arrested in Dubai on January 23, a day after the attack on the American Center in Kolkata in which four West Bengal policemen were killed.

Mr Abhyankar said, “There is a presumption of his (Ansari’s) connection with the ISI.” He added that there may have been a linkage between Ansari and Omar Sheikh, one of the four hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814.

Mr Abhyankar emphasised that though an extradition treaty was in force between India and the UAE, in the case of Aftab Ansari and Rajender Kumar it was not an extradition but a deportation because extradition was a time-consuming process while deportation was the sovereign right of a country.

The MEA official said New Delhi had greatly appreciated cooperation and support from the Dubai authorities as well as the UAE Government. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has thanked Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at Makhtoom for the UAE government’s “exceptional gesture”.

KOLKATA: The police on Saturday arrested three persons, suspected to be involved in the January 22 attack on the American Center here, from the Topsia area on the city’s eastern fringe.

Official sources said, a contingent of the detective police, following a tip-off, swooped down on a local market on Rammohan Lane and arrested the three.

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