NEW DELHI: Feb.5: Investigators are zeroing in on politicians who helped Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad alias Pappu after his escape from the Batla House encounter, with the role of a former MLA from Uttar Pradesh, currently based in Noida, coming under close scrutiny.
Investigations by Delhi Police crime branch following Shahzad’s revelations have resulted in further clarity over those who assisted the IM terrorist with money after he evaded the police on September 19, 2008. The ex-MLA allegedly gave him Rs 8,000, Shahzad has told sleuths.
TOI’s front-page report dated February 4 had revealed Shahzad’s shocking story which also included references to the help he recieved from a former junior central minister from Bihar and a prominent Mumbai politician. While the Mumbai politician is also understood to have offered monetary assistance, the former minister suggested that if Shahzad and his partner Ariz or Junaid give themselves up, he could ``help’’ them.
The Mumbai politician, sources said, also gave Shahzad Rs 10,000 through a go-between when the Delhi blasts accused was on the run. Shahzad has reportedly told cops that Junaid’s relatives were in touch with the former central minister from Bihar, who said he could help if they surrendered before a court or police.
``The former MLA from UP who gave Rs 8,000 was the first person to help Junaid and Shahzad. Later, it was Junaid’s uncle who approached the former Union minister and asked for help. We are corroborating his claims about the money and the channel through which he received this financial help,’’ said a senior police officer. The police is not revealing identities of politicians involved but certainly plan to summon the ex-MLA who allegedly helped Shahzad and Junaid soon after they fled the encounter scene.
Top brass of Delhi Police is considering the possibility of booking those who helped the terrorists. On Friday itself, the Supreme Court held that a person helping or sheltering terrorist can face between three years to a life term under the tough, amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The police are collecting evidence to support Shahzad’s claims that he had been in contact with and recieved help from politicians.
A report has been sent to the Home Ministry regarding Shahzad’s interrogation and the names he revealed during his questioning. Given the sensitivity of the case, the Congress leadership is also understood to be in the loop over the implications of the case. Sources confirmed that a detailed report about the investigations had been sought from the crime branch which is likely to update it again for submission on Saturday when Shahzad’s police remand expires.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat, reacting to TOI report said, Shahzad took ``some names’’ whom he claimed helped him and the Crime Branch is investigating whether those mentioned by the accused did so and in what circumstances. However, he refused to say whether the names the IM man took were of politicians nor did he identify them. ``We have not completed investigations in this regard,’’ he said.
The police have been on the lookout for Shahzad and Junaid ever since they escaped from Batla House, not only because the shootout had resulted in the death of Inspector Mohan Sharma, a crack anti-terror operative, but also as the two terrorists were integral to the 2008 Delhi serial blasts and perhaps had links with IM-planned bombings in Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
Shahzad went to the former UP MLA’s residence in Shaheen Bagh along with Junaid after the encounter. On Thursday, the police were in some doubt whether the politician was an ex-MLA from Delhi. But this has now been resolved. From Delhi, the IM men went to Aligarh and there on to Lucknow where Junaid parted ways with Shahzad.
The arrested terrorist, meanwhile has done a ``positive’’ identification of the flats in Shaheen Bagh which he and Junaid visited and stayed after their escape. He was also taken to a flat in Jasola where slain IM terrorist Atif Amin was staying before coming to Batla House. Amin was the kingpin of the IM Delhi module. Sources claimed Shahzad had fired at Inspector Sharma.