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December 21, 2001
1545 IST

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Uttarachal police admit they
got the wrong Tariq

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

Uttaranchal Director General of Police A K Saran on Friday admitted that his men had identified an innocent student as Tariq Masoodi, an accused in the December 13 attack on Parliament.

Speaking to rediff.com from his residence in Dehradun, Saran said the state police has issued an statement in this regard.

He blamed the local press for sending the police on the wrong trail. "Dainik Jagran carried a story about Tariq Masoodi, a student of Audio Visual Research Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, having gone missing immediately after the attack on Parliament. The manner in which the story was written and presented, we were forced to start investigations," Saran said.

A special squad was constituted under an officer of the rank of superintendent of police to investigate the matter and a manhunt was launched. What made matters worse for 20-year-old Tariq was that he hailed from Jammu and Kashmir and, worse still, his home town happened to be Sopore in Baramulla district -- a hotbed of militancy.

"Our officers contacted their counterparts in Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir to verify his credentials. We also spoke to the Dean of IIT, Roorkee and Vice Chancellor of the Jammu and Kashmir University. It was clear that Tariq Masoodi was not the person the Delhi police were looking for," Saran said.

One of the accused in the attack on Parliament, Mohammad Altaf, had told police that he was persuaded by a certain Tariq to meet the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief in Jammu and Kashmir, Gazi Baba.

But the Tariq the Uttaranchal police had managed to track down to the Valley was not the Tariq the Delhi police were looking for.

Tariq Masoodi, the IIT student, was in Sopore spending Id holidays with his family when the cops began looking for him.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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