Top militant Mehrajuddin Wani, suspected to be involved in the 13-year-old Kandahar hijack case and having close links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been arrested in Kishtwar district by the Jammu and Kashmir police which said he was a "big catch".
Acting on inputs that he was travelling from Nepal to Kashmir, police arrested Mehrajjudin alias Javed Dand in Kishtwar, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu Zone Dilbagh Singh told reporters here today.
Mehrajuddin was among the first five militants who launched the militancy in J&K in 1987 and later crossed over to PoK in 1989 to get arms training and returned back after three months to start oprations in the state, Singh said.
He belongs to militancy-hit Sopore town of north Kashmir and was a member of UJC, an umbrella group of several militant outfits and had close association with United Jihad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's D-company, he said.
During questioning, Mehrajuddin said that a diplomat of an unspecified embassy in Nepal was "deeply involved" in the 1999 hijacking of the Indian Airlines aircraft (IC-814) to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
"Mehrajuddin told interrogators that a diplomat of an unspecified embassy (in Nepal) was deeply involved (in the Hijacking)"."We are investigating all this", the IGP said, adding, "he is big catch for the security agencies".
"We suspect that Mehrajuddin's services have been used (in the Hijacking). He knew about the Hijacking--he was there (in Nepal) when the aircraft was hijacked in 1999," Singh said.
In Delhi, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said, "we have to confirm the reports. If correct, I congratulate the J and K police."
Police claimed that Mehrajuddin provided logistical support by giving fake travel documents to the five Pakistani men who hijacked IC-814 on December 24, 1999.
The aircraft with 176 passengers on board, was hijacked by five Pakistani militants and forced to land in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai before being taken to Kandahar, Taliban's bastion.
Rupin Katyal, one of the 176 passengers on board, was killed during the seven-day stand-off.
It ended with the Indian government swapping three terrorists including Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of Jaish-e-Mohammad, for the safe return of the hostages.
Police suspect that Mehrajuddin has strong linkages with Pakistan's ISI and is also believed to be engaged in raising funds for terror activities.
In reply to a question whather his name was mentioned in the challan produced by CBI in the Kandhar hijack case, Singh said, "his name does not figure in the challan. He has acquired half a dozen fake names for various operations. So the investigations are on."
Police said with the help of the diplomat in Kathmandu, Mehrajuddin smuggled weapons, ammunition and fake currency into India.
During interrogation, Mehrajuddin has given details about his relations with Syed Salahuddin, Anees Ibrahim and Dawood Ibrahim, who figure in the list of 20 most wanted persons India has given to Pakistan, police said.
The IGP said that soon after Mehrajuddin returned from his training in Pakistani Occupied Kahsmir (POK), he was arrested in Uri and sent to Kotbalwal Jail, where he came in contact with militants Syed Salludin, Nayeem Khan and Imran Rahi.
He was released and crossed several times to Pakistan on fake passports via Wagah border and also Nepal during the period to carry out the plans of militants, Singh said.
In Pakistan, he met top militants - Bilal Sidiqee, Ehsan Dar, Javaid Guruad who motivated him set up bases in Delhi and other places in 1992. Mehrajuddin set up his network in Delhi, Saharanpur and Bangalore and carried out Hawala operations, IGP said.
Security forces need to be praised for this fine job done.
We hail the courage and commitment to duty by the Police force of J&K but it is not an one man show but it is just an ORDER executed perfectly.Had such personalities work for the good of the Common General Public embracing peace in one's heart instead of joining Jihad Groups following falling prey to misinterpretation of Holy KORAN; Kashmir would have been a different place altogether.If we fall prey to such propaganda of vested vested interests being done purely for self gain;we shall surely land into more problems than securing any freedom to oneself living with J&K.We only hope and pray that the great people of J&K shall understand the compulsion of the Government to maintain a limit in this aspect for the overall good of the entire.We all LOVE Kashmirs as much as we love the others living within the Country.We are all same and one only
1999 was a time when terrorism was relatively less often heard and I used to very firmly believe in secular India. After 2004, I am a full-fledged hater and just do not believe in secularism. Too long they fed on my tolerance. Too long they counted on "all Indians are my brothers and sisters.." pledge. Too long they repleted on our inaction and patience. All this time when I firmly believed in the founding principles of our secular country, they hated us. The retribution will start soon, although, sadly, it will mean chaos for a small period (something like post-partition chaos). But then the bad blood should be spilled and jettisoned for the new era to begin. Unfortunate that I will live to see such a travesty.
See that it do not turn out another Kasab !!!!!!!! Don't waste Aam Admi's hard earned taxed money behind such criminals and try to get hearing on day to day basis and give verdict on SOS terms.
Yup police officers do deserve congratulations but javeb need not to worry as nobody gets hanged till they die peacefully. He can also get his choice of biryani now!!!
Congratulation brave and brightest police office persons. You make my day. make me proud and happy.make him talk where about about other terrorists.