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Busy crime branch ‘reluctant’ to probe Myanmar nationals’ case

Crime Branch says officials are occupied with Dabholkar murder.

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Pune | Published: October 29, 2013 3:56:24 am

The probe into the arrest of two Myanmar nationals — who not only entered India illegally but also managed to get fake passports and travelled to Sharjah from Pune airport — is stuck as the crime branch is reluctant to take over the case. Reason: its officials are busy with Narendra Dabholkar’s murder.

Ansari Mehboob Alam (24) and Gazi Najbul Hasan (23),both Rohingya Muslims,allegedly came to India by crossing the porous Bangladesh border by paying “petty” amounts of money to “agents” a few months ago. They stayed at Deoband in Uttar Pradesh,procured fake passports and booked tickets to Sharjah from Mumbai. They also allegedly managed to give a slip to immigration branch officers at Pune airport and reached Sharjah on September 21.

However,they were arrested by Sharjah authorities who detected their fake passports and sent them back to Pune. Suryakant Ram (34),a central intelligence officer with the immigration branch at Pune airport,then registered an FIR against them at the airport police station.

The case needs “better probe” as interrogations revealed that passport racketeers hailed from other states. Also,there was a possibility that the racketeers could be linked to terror operatives. Coupled with the work load and lack of resources at the airport police station,the crime branch was asked to take over the investigation.

A senior police officer said two weeks have passed but the crime branch is yet take up the case. “The crime branch said its officials are busy probing the murder of Dabholkar,which hasn’t seen a breakthrough yet,” he said. The officer said the investigating team got important clues about passport racketeers,which needed further probe by dedicated teams such as the Anti Terrorist Cell (ATC) of the crime branch.

Despite repeated attempts,Additional Commissioner (crime) Shahaji Solunkhe and Deputy Commissioner (crime) Rajesh Bansode refused to comment.

Considering the seriousness of the issue,a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also visited the airport police station. Sources said the NIA looked into this case as the interrogation of terror mastermind Yasin Bhatkal revealed the alleged plans of Indian Mujahideen (IM) to recruit Rohingya Muslims for jehadi activities. Bhatkal had apparently revealed that the home-grown terror outfit has developed strong links with the Al-Qaeda and is now taking up international tasks. So,besides recruiting youths from India,IM is also eyeing Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,who left the country following ethnic clashes and are “potential recruits” for terror outfits,sources said.

Investigation by the airport police revealed that the family of one of the arrested Myanmar nationals had shifted to Dubai due to fear of violence. While no terror links have been established so far,it is suspected that criminals — who gave fake passports to not only the two suspects but many Rohingya Muslims in India — may be linked to terror outfits. Hence,serious attempts are needed to identify and arrest them.

Sources said there is a rise in the number of illegal Myanmar migrants coming to India and Nepal after the ethnic clashes. In the recent past,many Myanmar nationals have been arrested by Indian agencies in border areas. In June this year,Shaikh Abdul Khalid was arrested at the Lucknow airport with a fake passport. In February,nine Myanmar nationals were arrested in Nepal and fake passports were seized from them.

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