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CBI doubtful about Kandhar hijacking suspect's identity

Last updated on: April 15, 2011 20:56 IST

A Central mBureau of Investigation team has questioned Abdul Rauf for about four hours in Chile in connection with the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane (IC-814) in 1999 but doubts persisted over his identity as the main conspirator.

Sources privy to the probe said a two-member team of Indian investigators have interrogated Rauf to know his antecedents and alleged links with any terrorist groups which might have been involved in the hijacking of the aircraft to Kandahar.

They said the team has conveyed to its superiors here that the person in detention by authorities in South American country may not be the real Rauf. "He may not be the one we are looking for. The team will come back on Monday after doing due-diligence," a CBI official said.

Rauf wanted by the CBI is the brother-in-law of terror-outfit 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. The JeM chief was among the three terrorists exchanged for the release of over 160 passengers after eight-days of negotiations carried out at Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan.

Sources said that the Chilean police had on April 11 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. They said that the Chilean police had also sent his finger prints for verification, but the CBI expressed its inability as neither Rauf's picture nor his finger prints were available with the agency.

Claudio Garrido, the deputy chief of mission of Chile said, "So far as I know, there was four-hour interrogation (of Rauf) in Chile on Thursday, and as I understand the CBI carried out the interrogation." On being asked whether the person detained in Chile was the same as wanted by the CBI, Garrido said it is for the visiting team of investigators to clarify.
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