The CBI on Wednesday denied reports of the arrest of the mastermind of the July 11 serial bombings in 2006, Raheel Sheikh, in London or any part of the UK. On Tuesday, the Mumbai police had claimed that Sheikh was arrested from London by Interpol.
“Neither Raheel Sheikh has been arrested nor detained in any part of London. We have got this confirmation from the Interpol office there,” said Harsh Bhal, Additional Director General (ADG), Media and Communication unit of the CBI.
Interpol India unit has been in constant touch with the Interpol London to this effect and Scotland Yard has denied reports suggesting Sheikh’s detention at the Heathrow airport.
The Mumbai police Crime Branch on Wednesday clarified that Sheikh had been ‘traced’ and not detained in the UK, but confirmed that the CBI had sought details of his involvement in the 7/11 serial blasts case.
“He has been traced and not detained in the UK, and the CBI has sent us a letter seeking details of the Red Corner Notice issued against him,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.
“We are working on getting Raheel Sheikh back to India, and have collected information on his role in the 7/11 serial blasts in order to begin the extradition process,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Deven Bharti.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor and Rakesh Maria of the Crime Branch had said on Tuesday that Sheikh was held in London on the basis of a notice issued by the Interpol. “We have been asked to furnish evidence regarding his involvement in the July 11 blasts, which we have already sent across,” Gafoor had said. CBI officials said an unconfirmed report came from a TV news channel about Sheikh’s arrest but London Interpol had no clue about anyone called Sheikh. “When our unit here contacted them and asked them if they had detained Sheikh, they were shocked to hear this,” said an official.
When asked on what basis the Mumbai police claimed Sheikh’s arrest, an official said, “Interpol in India is a part of the CBI. We don’t know who told the Mumbai police about this”. The official also said there was a protocol that Interpol only contacted the CBI here.
On May 28, 2007, Interpol had issued a Red Corner notice against Raheel Abdul Rahman Sheikh for organising serial bombings in Mumbai that left 185 dead and hundreds injured. The Red Corner notice was issued by Interpol at the instance of the Mumbai police, who had taken up the case with the world police through the CBI.
The warrant is specific about his role in spreading terrorism in Mumbai.