Three Pakistani nationals, who were arrested in connection with blasts near the Red Fort nine years ago, have escaped, leaving red-faced the authorities which sounded a red alert in the national capital and neighbouring areas.
The incident took place on Friday when Abdul Razzak, Mohammed Sadiq and Rafaqat Ali were being escorted to a hospital for treatment by the Meghalaya police personnel who were on deputation to the Delhi Police's Special Branch, official sources said.
The three, who were convicted under the Narcotic, Drug and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act for possession of heroin, were to be deported to Pakistan on completion of their sentence. No other charge against the trio could be substantiated.
Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat claimed the three Pakistanis, who were in detention of the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), escaped while returning from a medical check-up at a hospital.
Initially, the Delhi Police claimed the three were being treated at G B Pant Hospital but had to withdraw it within minutes after the hospital's Medical Superintendent Dr Shashi Gururaj said the three had not come to the hospital.
"We have screened the list of patients who visited our hospital for treatment. Neither today nor yesterday nor in the last one month, any of those terrorists was found to have been brought to our hospital for treatment," the hospital's medical superintendent said.
Later, the Delhi Police clarified that the three were being taken to Guru Nanak Eye Hospital.
FRRO denied it had anything to do with the three Pakistanis saying the custody of such prisoners was always with the special branch of the Delhi Police.
After the escape, Delhi Police registered a fresh case against the trio for violating the restraint order of the Foreigners Act, a senior police official said.
The home ministry officials said a red alert was sounded in Delhi and adjoining areas to nab the fleeing terrorists.
The three were arrested on October 30, 2000, from Rothak and Delhi along with five other Pakistani nationals and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including 17kg of high-grade RDX and 50kg of heroin, was recovered from them.
The other five accused arrested with them were Kamaal alias Billa, Riaz, Akhtar, Jameel, Aslam.