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Why the usual terror suspects always get away

July 16, 2011 15:27 IST

After every terror attack in the last three years, names of the usual suspects crop up -- Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Abdus Subhan alias Tauqeer. This is followed by the information that these men are hiding in a Gulf nation or in Pakistan, and extraditing them to India will not be possible.

Why do Indian agencies fail to nab these men?

Riyaz Bhatkal started off as a common thief but is considered a dangerous terrorist today. Ironically, he doesn't feature in the Central Bureau of Investigation's list of most wanted terrorists and the Interpol is yet to issue a Red Corner notice against him.

According to police jargon, Bhatkal is an 'out of view activity criminal', and he has been off the radar for some time now.

There have been speculations that Bhatkal may have been bumped off by the Inter Services Intelligence, but his hometown Bhatkal seems unaffected by such rumours.

Abdus Subhan used to be the editor of a magazine for the Students Islamic Movement of India. Today, he is a dreaded terrorist who has formed the deadly Indian Mujahideen.

Intelligence inputs suggest that he is hiding in Pakistan, but there is no Interpol notice against him.

India has failed to build up a fool-proof case or provide specific information against these men to Interpol.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau point out that building up a case against a terrorist does not fall under the agency's purview. It can only provide information and the police needs to build up the case.

While it is nearly impossible to nab a terrorist while he is hiding in Pakistan, the Interpol can arrest him if he tries to shift to another country.

The extradition procedure is a cumbersome one as at least two strong criminal cases need to be lodged against the wanted criminal.

Bhatkal's name doesn't find much mention in any of the chargesheets of terror attacks and the interrogation reports of other terrorists don't suffice as evidence. A court needs to convict these wanted terrorists and declare them as absconders before the extradition process starts.

In the recent past, Indian agencies have undertaken daredevil operations and gone after a terrorist without an Interpol notice or extradition treaty. A team of the police had traveled to Muscat undercover and brought him to Bangalore for interrogation. He turned out to be quite a prized catch for the agencies.

Vicky Nanjappa