Who is Bilal Ahmad Kawa? In a major counter-terrorism operation, Delhi Police and Gujarat ATS have arrested a man, suspected to be involved in the 2000 Red Fort attack from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). It has been learnt that Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad informed the Delhi Police that one Bilal Ahmed Kawa, who had been declared a proclaimed offender in the case, was travelling from Srinagar to Delhi, they said.
Kawa, who was suspected to be linked to Lashkar-e-Toiba, was arrested in the evening from the T-3 terminal of the Delhi Airport and his questioning is underway, the police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) P S Kushwah said Kawa was arrested around 6 pm.
Another officer said that money to the tune of Rs 29.50 lakh was transferred through hawala in various bank accounts, including those of Kawa, to fund the attack.
Kawa was on the run since 2000 and was hiding in Kashmir, the police said. Three people, including two Army jawans, were killed in the December 22, 2000 Red Fort attack.
On December 22, 2000, three Indian Army personnel were killed in indiscriminate firing at Red Fort. While at least 11 people — including mastermind Mohammad Arif from Pakistan’s Abbottabad — have been convicted in the case, Kawa was absconding.
DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwaha said the arrest was made by a joint team of Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad and Delhi Police’s Special Cell. Police sources said the Gujarat ATS received a tip-off that Kawa would be on a flight to Delhi. On the basis of the information, the joint team nabbed him from the airport just after he landed.
During interrogation, Kawa reportedly told police that over the last 18 years, he changed his location frequently but had been living in Kashmir for the time being. Sources said he was on his way to meet his brother in Delhi.
Kushwaha, however, said they are yet to verify his claims.
During investigation into the 2000 attack, Delhi Police had found that Rs 29.5 lakh was allegedly transferred to Kawa’s bank account.
Investigation had also revealed that Arif had deposited the money — allegedly used in funding the Red Fort attack and was also sent to Kashmir for militancy — in his account.
Police said Arif used to send the money through an account he had opened at a private bank branch in Connaught Place in July 2000. Police said the money was transferred to Kawa’s account between July and November, 2000.