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November 9, 2000
CBI team in Dubai
Ashok Tuteja in Dubai
A two-member Central Bureau of Investigation team is in Dubai in connection with investigations into last year's Christmas-eve hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft.
The team comprises CBI Joint Director R N Sawani and Superintendent of Police M K Narayanan.
Talking to Gulf Today, Sawani said the team's visit had nothing to do with any bilateral investigative procedure. It is the first trip by a CBI team to Dubai in connection with the hijacking case.
"We are here to look into small technical matters which need to be tied up before being presented before the court," Sawani said. The team's work was basically with the Indian diplomatic mission in Dubai to know what really happened when the plane landed in Dubai and which mission staff were involved in handling the emergency situation.
Militants commandeered Flight IC-814 while it was on its way to Delhi from Kathmandu. It was first taken to Amritsar and then brought to Al Minhad Airbase off Dubai, after Omani authorities refused it permission to land at Muscat.
After releasing more than twenty passengers, most of them women and children, the hijackers got the aircraft refuelled and took it to Kandahar in Afghanistan, setting off one of the longest hijacking dramas in aviation history.
The hijacking ended when the Indian government set free some associates of the hijackers in Indian jails to secure the safe release of the passengers.
Asked whether the CBI team would be visiting the Al Minhad Airbase, where the body of the lone casualty in the hijacking incident Rupin Katyal, was dumped by the hijackers, Sawani said, "We have no reason to visit that place."
The CBI team on Wednesday met Consul General Asoke Mukherjee. The team had not met any local official so far, said Sawani, who was also in-charge of the team which probed the match-fixing scandal in India and submitted its report to the government recently.
"Everything depends on ambassador K C Singh," he said when asked whether the team would meet any local official during the course of its visit.
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