Oops, We Did It! Again!
India had sent Pakistan a list of 50 “most wanted” it said were hiding there. Then it turned out that two of the 50 were right there – in India itself.
In an embarrassing goof-up, another man named in India's Most Wanted list of terrorists allegedly hiding in Pakistan was found to be in a Mumbai jail facing trial in the 1993 serial blasts case.
Listed in the dossier as criminal No. 24, Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan has been shown as an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case along with the absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim.
But it came to be known that Feroze Khan was actually in Mumbai's fortified Arthur Road Central Jail and facing trial, official sources said.
This is the second goof-up in the list that has left the home ministry and the intelligence agencies red-faced. Two days ago, it was revealed that Wazhul Qamar Khan, accused No. 42 and supposedly hiding in Pakistan, was living in Thane near Mumbai.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which forwarded Feroze Khan's name owned up to its mistake.
"They (the CBI) have admitted the mistake for erroneously including the name of Feroze Abdul Rashid Khan in the list given to Pakistan," home ministry spokesperson Onkar Kedia told IANS.
Kedia said the CBI had named 40 people and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) included 10 suspected terrorists in the list given to Pakistan during the March home secretary level talks.
The CBI, the official said, "has written to the home ministry saying that (it) had forgotten to remove the name from the list although the accused was in their custody".
He said the NIA has checked up its list and stands by the names forwarded to the home ministry and the CBI was now rechecking the names of 40 people it had given after the second mistake was found.
The CBI promptly suspended an inspector and transferred two senior officers for the error, said a statement from the agency.
Feroze Khan was arrested February 6, 2010, by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad for his role in the blasts which were masterminded by Dawood and executed by Tiger Memon, both of whom are in the Most Wanted list.
Post-arrest, the ATS handed Feroze Khan to the CBI's Special Task Force for further investigations.
After the serial blasts, Feroze Khan had gone missing for several years before surfacing under a new identity until he was busted last year.
Feroze Khan was a member of the Mohammed Dossa gang, who was the chief landing agent handling the consignment of arms and ammunition that arrived by the Arabian Sea before being taken by road to Mumbai.
Incidentally, Feroze Khan is lodged in the same high-security prison as Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
(Ed's note: India has now withdrawn the bungled list.)
This article first appeared in ProKerala News in May 2011.