The red-faced Mumbai and Maharashtra police, which are frantically searching for fugitive Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror accused Afzal Usmani, now suspect that his 19-year-old nephew could be involved in helping the terrorist escape.
Interestingly, Usmani’s Dharavi-based nephew Javed Khan has been missing since the day Usmani gave the police the slip. Last month, Usmani escaped from the sessions court where he was brought to attend proceedings. Usmani’s nephew Javed Khan too has been missing from the same day, said a police officer.
A thorough background check by the police has revealed that for the past two years, Khan was visiting Usmani regularly in Gujarat while he was lodged in Sabarmati jail. After Usmani was shifted to Taloja jail, Khan would also visit him there.
“Initially, Usmani’s brother used to visit him regularly in jail, however, after sometime he stopped and Khan started visiting him,” the officer said. The police got curious when a random check revealed that on September 20.
That day, Khan left his house around 1pm, informing his family that, it being a Friday, he was going to offer namaz and would be back soon.
“But, Khan did not return and hasn’t come back ever since,” the officer said.Another aspect which has raised suspicions is Khan’s phone that stopped working from around the time he went missing. “Over the past two years Usmani had gotten very close to Khan and all the circumstances with regards to Khan have become suspicious,” another senior police officer said.
More alarmingly, when the police questioned Khan’s family, they claimed that they were unaware of his whereabouts. “Strangely, they are not even prepared to file a missing complaint about Khan,” said the senior officer. Usmani who was arrested for his alleged role in the Gujarat serial blasts in 2008 is a master car thief and the police feel that he could be using this ability on the run. “He (Usmani) is 35 years old and is bulky and stout.
He will find it difficult to mingle, unless he changes his appearance and disguises himself,” the officer said. It has been close to 20 days that Usmani has fled and, “as days go by it will become increasing difficult to nab him,” the police officer said. As many as 14 teams formed by the Mumbai police and the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) have fanned out across the country to trace Usmani, but all of them have returned empty handed.