Fugitive IM terror suspect Afzal Usmani rearrested
On the run for over a month since his escape from a Mumbai court, suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani was arrested from outside a railway station in Uttar Pradesh while preparing to cross over to Nepal, Maharashtra ATS said on Monday.
Usmani, an accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings case, was arrested outside Rupaidiha railway station at around 3.30 am on Sunday, Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria said.
Usmani’s arrest materialised after his nephew Javed Noorul Hasan Khan, who had assisted in his escape from Mumbai, was picked up from suburban Kurla by the ATS on 25 October, Maria said.
‘Nineteen-year-old Javed was arrested for aiding and abetting Usmani’s escape,’ Maria said.
In a serious security lapse, the 37-year-old IM operative, who was brought to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court along with 18 others from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai on 20 September in connection with Ahmedabad blasts, had given police the slip.
According to the ATS, after escaping from the court, Usmani took a taxi to reach Sewree where he took Rs 600 from a friend Akmal Khan before reaching Dharavi where his sister Safia Qatum lives.
Usmani met Javed, son of Safia, and narrated him about his escape. Javed, who was brainwashed by him on several occasions earlier, took Rs 5,000 from his home and the duo decided to flee to Uttar Pradesh.
‘Usmani got his beard trimmed by a roadside barber at Dharavi, changed his dress and and then got a clean-shaven look at Sion in a bid to hide his identity. The two reached Sion by a taxi from Dharavi, following which they took a public transport bus for Santacruz from where they reached Borivali in an auto,’ Maria said.
From Borivali, the two took a private bus for Surat and reached Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh by train after visiting Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur among others.