Police seek NIA help to trace suspected Iraqi nationals

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Police on Wednesday sought cooperation from National Investigation Agency (NIA) to trace the four suspected Iraqi nationals who suspiciously fled from a hotel here on intervening night of 25 and 26 January.

Police sources said the central agency has been urged to take up the matter after reports from their Andhra Pradesh counterparts emerged that the vehicle in which the four were travelling has been seized near Vishakhapatnam.

A video footage run by local news channels also suggested a vehicle bearing registration number DL4C-9645, which was suspected to be used by the foreigners when they fled from the hotel here, was passing through a toll gate in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The vehicle was later seized based on the alert from Odisha Police.

Meanwhile, with no clues about the suspects after 24 hours of the incident, investigating officials of the special task force (STF) suspect that the Iraqi nationals might have escaped to Andhra Pradesh through Girisola check gate in Ganjam district.

“We suspect they have escaped to Andhra Pradesh before dawn of 26 January,” an official on condition of anonymity said.

Though all the borders have been sealed and intensive checking is being carried out by security forces, the police are yet to get any clue in the matter. Sources said the CCTV footage of all the check and toll gates are being vetted thoroughly.

An official said alerts have been sent to neighbouring West Bengal and Jharkhand in this regard.

On the other hand, to make the fleeing drama more curious, three Iranian nationals were interrogated by the Bargarh police today after they were suspiciously found in Bargarh town this afternoon. A Santro car bearing New Delhi registration number – DL3C-AA-2506 and their passports have been seized.