Man detained in Chile not conspirator of IA hijack



New Delhi: The CBI has conclusively established that the person detained in Chile is not the man it was looking for in connection with the conspiracy in the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999 and that he was just a visa offender.

The person -- Abdul Rauf -- who was detained by the Chilean Police way back in January this year had entered the South American country along with four other Pakistani nationals, official sources said on Wednesday.

During investigations carried out recently by a two-member Indian security team in Chile, Rauf stated in his interrogation that he had entered that country through illegal means and that he had no knowledge about any conspiracy relating to the hijacking of the plane(IC 814) in 1999, the sources said.

The visiting team also questioned four other Pakistani nationals lodged in different jails of Chile who had accompanied Rauf while entering this country, the sources added.

The sources said the statements of other Pakistani nationals were required to corroborate Rauf's interrogation report.

The suspicion that Rauf could be the same person who was involved in the conspiracy arose as a result of a faux pas due to some communication errors by the Indian Mission in Santiago to Ministry of External Affairs in which the parentage and place of birth of Rauf was wrongly given and different from the notings made by the Chilean police.

The sources said that the first information about the detention of a person identified as Abdul Rauf came to the CBI as early as in January this year but the agency did not pursue it as the parentage and the place of birth was different from that of the person wanted by the CBI in connection with hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane.

The same information was sent by the Indian Mission in one of its messages to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi but erroneously mentioned the place of birth and parentage as the same which was there in CBI records.

The CBI had received an information about the same in January and was not found to be correct after it was verified and checked, the sources said.

Chilean police informed the CBI that they had detained a person identified as Abdul Rauf and that there was also an Interpol Red Corner notice pending against him.

The sources said that the Chilean police had also sent his finger prints for verification but the CBI expressed its inability to move forward as neither Rauf's picture nor his finger prints was available with the investigation agency.

The CBI officials also took note of the fact that US' Federal Bureau of Investigations had registered a case in the hijacking of IC-814 and that the agency would have checked the antecedents about the detained person earlier.

Abdul Rauf wanted by the CBI is the brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Maulana Masood Azhar and was among the main conspirators in the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane from Kathmandu on December 24, 1999.

PTI