Pak rejects claim about arrest of JeM chiefs brother: Report

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have refuted Chilean police`s claim of having arrested the brother of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, accused of coordinating the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane, saying they had nabbed someone else, according to a media report.

The Chilean police have arrested someone else because Mufti Abdul Rauf, the younger brother of Azhar, is present in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, `The News` daily quoted unnamed officials of Pakistani security agencies as saying.

Pakistani authorities told the daily that the name of the man arrested in Chile last week is Mohammad Abdul Rauf, a Pakistani who has been charged with possessing a fake visa.

They said the detained man has nothing to do with Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) or any other Pakistani militant group and India`s CBI would soon come to the "same conclusion".

Persons close to Abdul in Islamabad told the daily that news of his arrest was "part of an ugly plot by Indian agencies to malign him" because they had "failed" to produce any evidence of his involvement in the hijacking over a decade ago.

Chilean authorities had informed the CBI through Interpol on April 11 that they had arrested a Pakistani national, Abdul Rauf, who matched the description of the person charge-sheeted by the CBI in the hijacking of flight IC-814.

The hijacking had compelled the then BJP-led government in India to release Azhar along with Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed, who has been sentenced to death for the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and another terrorist.

Indian authorities have dispatched a CBI team to Chile to verify the identity of the detained man.

Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice for JeM leader Mufti Abdul Rauf in 2000 and a cash award of Rs 1 million was announced for information leading to his arrest.

According to the Interpol notice, Rauf allegedly sent Rs 78,000 twice to the hijackers of flight IC-814.

He rented a flat in Sabzi Mandi area of Dhaka for the hijackers to stay and attended a few meetings to fine-tune the operation.

During the hijacking, Rauf was constantly getting updates from co-accused Abdul Latif, an Indian national who has been arrested by the CBI.

Three other accomplices of Rauf who have been arrested are Pakistani nationals Mohammad Rehan and Mohammed Iqbal and Yusuf Nepali, a Nepalese national, and they are being tried in India.

According to the Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol, Rauf is a resident of 6-B-1260/l08, Kauser Colony, Model Town in Bahawalpur district.

Rauf has two other addresses in Karachi.