Detained Iranians not terrorists: Crime Branch IG

Bhubaneswar: Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra on Thursday confirmed that the five Iranian nationals, who fled a hotel in Bhubaneswar on Republic Day eve and were later detained at Nakkapalli police station in Vishakhapatnam, are not terrorists.

However, investigation is on into their suspicious behavior at Bhubaneswar, Bothra added.

Earlier in the day, the Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Police, Vizag rural police and IB team interrogated the detained persons.

During the interrogation, it was revealed that all of them are citizens of Tehran. While two of them came to India on December 28, the other three arrived on January 12.

Notably, the whole episode began after a suspected person came in a car along with some co-passengers to Bhubanswar-based Arya Mahal hotel on January 25 night and asked for two rooms at the hotel. When the receptionist asked the man for an identity proof, he ran away from the spot after shoving some police staff.

On Wednesday, Nakkapalli police in Vishakhapatnam detained the individuals and seized Iranian passports and a Toyota car bearing registration number DL 6CG 1520 from their possession.

The Toyota car, which belongs to a person who owns a jewellery shop in Karol Bagh, was taken on rent by the suspects from a Delhi-based travel agency.