In a big catch, the Delhi Police on Tuesday named most wanted Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Ariz Khan alias Junaid, from the Indo-Nepal Border. His arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police is significant as Ariz had been absconding since September 19, 2008, the day of the Batla House encounter, when he managed to give the cops a slip. According to Delhi Police, Ariz was linked to a number of serial blasts in the national capital, including in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Ariz was present during the 2008 Batla House encounter but managed to escape. However, the way he managed to give police the slip repeatedly and the trap laid by Special Cell to nab this terrorist were reminiscent of great Hollywood thrillers.
How Ariz Khan managed to escape from Batla House Encounter
Ariz Khan was staying with four others in a rented flat in Batla House in Jamia Nagar. All of them were allegedly involved in the serial blasts that had ripped Delhi in 2008. As the Delhi police laid the siege on that fateful day, the then Delhi Police sub-inspector Dharmendra Kumar went to third floor of the building posing as a Vodafone executive. After carrying out reconnaissance, Kumar alerted the team about the presence of the terrorists. A team of police personnel lead by former inspector Mohan Chand Sharma entered and gun firing began. Taing advantage of the “L-shaped” formation of the third-floor flat, Ariz and co-accused Shehzad managed to jump on the balcony of another house and headed downstairs. Two of Delhi Police officials waiting on the ground floor mistook them as residents and this allowed Ariz to escape from the encounter site.
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Chase after Batla House Encounter
It has been learnt that after the successful escape, Ariz and Shehzad, an accomplice, had visited relatives and acquaintances in Delhi and neighbourhood states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. They also went to Maharashtra and allegedly sought shelter and financial aid. However, the relatives declined them both. After about a month, Ariz and Shehzad were separated and the latter was nabbed by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF).
Ariz had gone to Varanasi and Bihar before finally landing up in Nepal’s Biratnagar. He came in contact with one Nizamuddin Khan alias Nizam Khan of Nepal. With Khan’s help, Ariz managed to procure a citizenship card and passport under the name of Mohd Salim, according to police officials. Subsequently, Ariz ran a restaurant and even taught at different schools. Apart from these, he also married a local resident, who changed her name to Sarah, the police officer was quoted as saying by Indian Express. According to DCP (Special cell) PS Kushwaha, Ariz then made contact with Riyaz Bhatkal who pursued him to come to Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Ariz then travelled to Saudi Arabia to arrange for funds to revive the Indian Mujahideen in India, Kushwaha was quoted as saying by IE.
How Ariz Khan was trapped
After evading arrest for a decade, Ariz Khan was arrested from Banbasa on the Indo-Nepal border. It has been learnt that the Special Cell had started working on the leads gathered from the interrogation of arrested terrorists with links to the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and other terror outfits. Kushwaha said that during the past few months, inputs were received through different sources that absconding terrorists of IM and SIMI have set up their base in Nepal and are frequently visiting India to “indoctrinate” unemployed youth.
A few days ago, police received a specific information about Ariz. It was learnt that he will reach Uttar Pradesh from Banbasa, Indo-Nepal border, to meet an associate, according to the police official. A trap was laid by a team of Special Cell in the area near Banbasa. Ariz was apprehended at about 5.20 PM on February 13, near Sharda Inter College, Banbasa, Nepal Road.