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June 21, 2000
CBI files chargesheet in IC-814 hijack
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The Central Bureau of Investigation today filed a chargesheet in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 at Patiala against ten accused, including seven absconding Pakistanis, in the designated court of Additional District and Sessions Judge J S Chawla.
The CBI has already requested Interpol to issue 'red corner notices' for the Pakistanis and the government has requested Pakistan to extradite them under the Hague and Montreal conventions.
According to CBI spokesman S M Khan, the investigating agency has identified seven Pakistanis "who were responsible for the planning and execution of the hijacking," along with three others accused, Abdul Latif, Yusuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel, all Indians.
The Pakistanis are Ibrahim Athar alias Chief, Sunny Ahmed Qazi alias Burger, Shahid Ayeed Akhtar alias Doctor, Zahoor Ibrahim Mistry alias Bhola, Shakir, R G Verma alias Shankar, Abdul Rauf and Yusuf Azhar, brothers of Maulana Masood Azhar.
IC-814 from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked with 179 passengers and 11 crew while it was flying in Indian air space under the Varanasi air traffic control on December 24 last year.
The hijack case was initially registered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport by the Delhi police and later transferred to the P S Raja Samsi airport in Amritsar.
The case was subsequently handed over to the CBI, which examined more than 350 witnesses, both within and outside the country, and collected over 300 documents.
Investigations revealed that the motive was to obtain the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, who was lodged in a Jammu jail. There had been three earlier attempts to get Maulana Azhar released, all of which failed.
The conspiracy was hatched in July last year and first revealed to the others at a flat in Subzi Mandi area in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Arrangements were made to procure weapons, including hand grenades and revolvers, through Yousuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel. These were later transferred to Kathmandu.
According to Khan, at a meeting in Zoo Area, Kathmandu, it was decided that Ibrahim Athar would carry all the weapons and pass the security area. He would then telephone the four others to proceed for check-in.
Abdul Latif was to monitor the hijackers' movements from Bombay and pass on information to Abdul Rauf in Karachi.
Investigations revealed that Sayeed Akhtar killed Rupin Katyal with a knife at Amritsar to terrorise the other passengers and crew. The operation was masterminded by agents of the Inter-Services Intelligence and activists of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Khan added.
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