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India unsure of identity of Pakistani held in Chile
Published on 13 Apr. 2011 10:59 PM IST
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Indian authorities are not sure if the Pakistani man detained in Chile is Abdul Rauf, one of the key conspirators of 1999 Indian Airlines IC-814 hijacking, with an Indian team in the Latin American country trying to verify his identity, CBI officials said here Wednesday.
The Chilean government, through Interpol, had informed the Indian government that it had detained a person who could be Abdul Rauf.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had been on the lookout for Rauf, who is also brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed commander Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the three terrorists released by India in exchange for more than 150 hostages aboard the hijacked plane that was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
An Indian team has already reached Chilean capital Santiago to verify the detained man’s identity, which may be difficult as India does not have any fingerprints or photographs of Rauf. The team is expected to return to India April 19.
According to sources, Rauf was detained while travelling under his own name, but with an invalid visa. Indian officials are puzzled as to why Rauf - if it is indeed him - was travelling under his own name when there was an Interpol notice against him.
Then, there are concerns whether India will be able to verify the man’s identity.
“We have no fingerprints or photographs. We only have voice samples,” a senior CBI official said.
Earlier, India had been trying to obtain Rauf’s photographs from the US, as revealed in a US diplomatic cable of May 2005, published by WikiLeaks.
Chilean Ambassador to India Cristian Barros Melet said if Rauf’s identity was established, then it could lead to his extradition. “Now, we are receiving members of CBI and police coming from Delhi and after positive identification, if it is possible, start the extradition process. For that, the embassy of India in Santiago must apply with all papers to the justice (ministry) in Chile,” Melet told reporters.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said Wednesday that India had to be “first convinced that it is the same person” before trying to extradite him.
“That is why we have deputed our man there so that they can come back and report to us. Depending on the report we get, we will take further action,” he said.

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