Monday, March 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Godhra carnage mastermind held
4 killed in fresh Vadodara violence

Ahmedabad, March 17
Haji Bilal Ismail Sujela, the alleged mastermind behind the February 27 Sabarmati Express carnage at Godhra, was arrested after a dramatic chase last night while apparently trying to flee the country, even as four persons were killed in a spurt of violence in Vadodara.

Police sources said here today that Bilal, who had tonsured his head and shaved his beard for the first time, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police from a hut on the outskirts of Godhra town. His passport was also seized.

Bilal, who has links with Pakistan’s ISI, was sleeping outside a hut at Hayatni Vadi on the outskirts of Godhra when he saw the police vehicles coming. He tried fleeing, but the policemen, who had raided the hut on specific information, gave a chase and nabbed him.

Immediately after the Sabarmati train carnage, Bilal had fled Godhra and had briefly stayed in Chota Udepur, Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai, before returning to the city.

Having visited Karachi thrice, Bilal also had connections with Yusuf Kharadi, alias Yusuf Godharawala, who has links with the ISI. He is known to have met several Pakistan nationals at a gambling club in Godhra owned by Husein Dhantiya.

Bilal has worked for Gujarat don Abdul Lateef and helped send Lateef’s wife Meharunnisa and brother-in-law Abdul Rauf to Pakistan using fake passports.

Meanwhile, in a sudden spurt of violence in Vadodara today, three persons were killed — two beaten to death and one in police firing — and 20 others severely injured, forcing the authorities to cut short a three-hour curfew relaxation.

The police fired nearly 25 rounds at Dani Limda and Dariapur police stations areas here to disperse a mob, which pelted stones at the police late last night, while indefinite curfew continued without any relaxation in the city. UNI


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