Mumbai/New Delhi: Indian Mujahideen terrorist Afzal Usmani, who had escaped from a Mumbai court on September 20, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police from Goa on Monday.
Usmani is the among accused in the Surat and Ahmedabad blast cases and had given the police the slip, getting away on the pretext of going to the toilet, when he was brought for a hearing to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) Special Court from Taloja Central Jail in Raigad district.
Usmani (38), who hails from Sangarpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district was a hotelier in Mumbai before he turned towards terrorist activities. He is believed to have handled finances for IM.
Usmani’s arrest materialised after his nephew Javed Nurullah Hussain Khan, who had assisted in his escape from Mumbai, was picked up by the ATS on October 25, Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria said.
The officer said Javed, who was arrested, informed ATS that Usmani was camping at Tatera village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh with his relatives since fleeing the MCOCA court in Mumbai.
Following the input received from Javed, an ATS team reached Tatera village but Usmani managed to slip away. He was, however, tracked down to Rupadia railway station and arrested, Maria said.
He said ever since his escape on September 20, Usmani travelled to Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur with Javed, son of his sister Safia Khatoon, a resident of Dharavi, before reaching Tatera.
He had sent Javed to Mumbai to fetch some documents which could help him conceal his identity before escaping to Nepal through the porous Indo-Nepal border.
Days after Usmani fled, seven suspected SIMI members had also escaped from a jail in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh.