Three days after Indian Mujhadein operative Afzal Usmani escaped from the sessions court, the police are still to find him.
Among the several steps to trace him, the police have tightened security at the airport. They have also pasted Usmani’s sketches and photos on the airport premises.
Though the police have formed several teams to track the fugitive, they suspect that he could try to leave the country on a fake passport. The airport officials said Usmani’s pictures have been pasted in such a manner so as to immediately attract attention.
“We have been told to keep a tight watch on security,” said a senior official from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Sources said that Usmani is short and bulky. The day Usmani fled from the court, his beard was several inches long. Officials said the first thing Usmani is likely to do is to shave his moustache and beard and change his hairstyle. “He would have to go to a known barber otherwise he would be too obviously suspicious. We are keeping a tab on barbers in the city,” sources added.
Police officers have used technology and printed photos of how Usmani would look after shaving his beard and moustache and changed hairstyle. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has questioned the owner of the eatery-cum-tea stall in Sewri, where Usmani was last spotted.
“We have questioned the eatery owner as we learnt that he had given Rs600 to Usmani. The teams have been instructed to look for Usmani and keep in mind that he would appear different from the photograph,” said an ATS source.
Apart from CISF, teams of local police in civil dress are keeping a tab on the airport and other places like railway stations and bus depots. The informer network of the cops are also being activated so as to get any trace about Usmani’s hideout, the sources with the Mumbai police claim. However, ATS officials said it was unlikely that Usmani would opt for flights or trains to go anywhere as it involves a lot of risk.
The police will also keep a watch on Yaadgaar, a eatery in Bandra which belongs to Usmani’s family, said sources. They will also question the staff.
Afzal Usmani, who started his criminal career as a car thief, has been charged for being part of Ahmedabad and Surat blast cases in 2008. Around 58 people were killed and another couple of hundreds injured in Ahmedabad blasts, whereas the bombs planted in Surat did not explode.