Indian police said Thursday they were questioning a suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist for his role in an attack in Delhi more than 17 years ago.
Bilal Ahmed Kawa, 37, was arrested at the New Delhi airport on Wednesday, police said, adding that he was wanted in connection with an assault on the national capital’s Red Fort, a 17th century Mughal heritage monument, in December 2000. The attack killed three Indian security personnel.
A court on Thursday granted police 10 days to interrogate Kawa, a Kashmir native.
Police sources said about 3 million rupees ($47,100) were wired to Kawa’s bank account to fund the attack by Mohammad Arif (alias Ashfaq Ahmed), who was handed the death penalty in 2005.
“We have arrested him and the court has granted us 10 days’ remand. As per our investigation, he was involved in certain financial transactions that were carried out to fund the Red Fort attack,” Deputy Commissioner of Police P.S. Kushwah told BenarNews.
“Right now, the focus of our investigation is the manner in which he helped with the attack and if anyone else, whom we have not yet identified, is part of his network,” he said.
The police said they were also trying to determine how the suspect managed to evade arrest all these years.
“If a person wanted in connection with such a huge terror case manages to roam free all these years, it only goes to show how lax our security forces are,” N.P. Singh, president of the Confederation of All Resident Welfare Associations (CARWA), an umbrella body of country-wide resident welfare groups, told BenarNews.
“Who knows? All these years he could have planned or carried out an attack anywhere,” Singh said.
Kawa had been hiding in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir since the Dec. 22, 2000, attack when an unknown number of attackers opened indiscriminate fire inside the heavily guarded Red Fort, police said.
Eleven people, including Arif, a Pakistani national, have been convicted for the attack.