New Delhi: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday welcomed the arrest of Mehrajuddin Dand alias Javed, suspected for providing fake travel papers and logistical support to the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999.
Interacting with media persons here, Shinde added that the arrest needs to be confirmed.
“Such events need to be confirmed. If he has been caught, I welcome it. I will confirm it and get back to you (media),” he told reporters.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested Mehrajuddin from Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Allegedly a top man of the Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and considered the right hand man of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Mehrajuddin is also said to have links with Dawood Ibrahim.
Besides being an important fundraiser, he was also allegedly involved in many terror activities, including 1996 Lajpat Nagar blasts.
Mehrajuddin has been operating in Kishtwar district for over 20 years.
He used to live in Nepal with a Hindu name and has hideouts across India.
Indian Airlines flight IC-814, with mostly Indians on board, had taken off from Nepal on the Christmas Eve thirteen years ago, and was hijacked in the Indian airspace.
The hijackers had directed the flight to Kandahar, after fuelling stops at Amritsar and Lahore, and a stop at Dubai were they freed some passengers.
The hijackers killed one man in the seven-day stand-off that ended controversially with the Indian government releasing three notorious terrorist leaders for the safe return of the rest of the passengers.
Among those freed by India were Maulana Masood Azhar who later founded the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is accused of later killing American journalist Daniel Pearl.