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Delhi cops probing 'role' of politicians who helped IM terrorist flee

Source: PTI
February 05, 2010 21:16 IST
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Suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad has reportedly named at least three politicians, including a former member of the Legislative Assembly from Azamgarh, claiming they helped him flee from Delhi after the Batla House shootout two years ago, police sources said in New Delhi on Frday.

Shahzad, who was arrested in February by Uttar Pradesh Police's Anti-Terror Squad, is said to have named a former MLA, a local leader believed to be a councillor and another leader whose help he took to flee from the national capital, the sources said. The 21-year-old accused, allegedly involved in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts and Batla encounter, claimed he went to the former MLA's residence in Shaheenbagh after he fled from the encounter site on September 19, 2008, the sources said.

"This is what he told us. We are verifying it. We are investigating whether the people whom he approached after the encounter helped him knowingly or not," a senior police official said. Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said Shahzad took "some names" whom he claimed helped him. The Crime Branch is investigating whether those mentioned by the accused helped him and in what circumstances. However, he refused to reveal any of the names, saying "we have not completed the investigations in this regard," he said.

The name of a senior Congress leader was also doing
the rounds in connection with helping Shahzad but police sources denied the leader's involvement. Shahzad will be produced in court on Saturday as his remand ends and the Special Cell is likely to seek his custody in connection with the serial blasts case. The Crime
Branch is investigating the Batla House encounter, in which two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists and Special Cell Inspector M C Sharma were killed. Police sources have claimed Shahzad had fired at Sharma.

The Special Cell is investigating the blasts while the crime branch is probing the encounter case and due to this there is some overlapping in the investigations, the sources said. Investigators had taken Shahzad to three places in the national capital as part of the probe into the encounter case. Shahzad was taken to Shaheenbagh near Sarita Vihar and later to Jasola. He was also taken to Children's Park in India Gate, where he had allegedly planted a bomb that did not explode. The sources said Shahzad told them during interrogation that he and Junaid (who is also accused in the serial blasts) managed to give police the slip from the Batla House and fled to Mumbai where they stayed for some time.

Sources said Atif Ameen, who was killed in the encounter,  allegedly "brainwashed" Shahzad in less than 20 days and made him plant the bomb as part of their operations for the serial blasts. Asked whether Shahzad visited Nepal thrice after the encounter, sources said they were investigating where all he went after the gunbattle. The IM suspect is believed to have told his interrogators that his group planned to recruit youths and carry out serial blasts in Indore and technical education institutes across the country, before the Batla House encounter happened. "They also planned to sent some youths through sea route to some foreign country to train them in terror operations," a senior police official said.
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