Kandahar Hijack Case: FBI Yet to Make Headway

New Delhi
Kandahar Hijack Case: FBI Yet to Make Headway
Success seems to be eluding the US' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane in 1999 as even after a decade the American probe agency has not been able to chargesheet any accused who are roaming freely in Pakistan.

Moreover, the FBI, which entered into cooperation with the CBI in 1999 to jointly crack the case, did not hand over a single document collected by American forces from a Kandahar house despite repeated reminders by the Indian probe agency, official sources said.

The FBI had registered a case in connection with the hijacking of an IC-814 plane to Kandahar on Christmas eve in 1999 on the basis of a complaint by a US passenger -- Jeanne Moore -- who was aboard the ill-fated aircraft.

The case, which saw the two probe agencies -- CBI and FBI -- working together for the first time has also not seen a single chargesheet being filed by the American investigators despite having unfettered access and influence in Pakistan, sources in the CBI said.

FBI had registered a case after examining Moore, who had spelt the word "coffin" for the hijackers when they made a list of demands to the Indian government.

A US Embassy spokesperson here said it was a policy not to make any comment on a case in which investigations were still going on.

The US allied forces had found several documentary evidence while fighting the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. The CBI had pressed for the evidence but those were never shared, said a CBI official who was associated with the case.

The CBI officials said they had pressed for questioning of some of the captured Taliban leaders including the then foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, who is understood to have played a key role in the criminal conspiracy during negotiations.

However, the same was provided by the FBI but in a limited way and Muttawakil could not even be counter questioned by the two-member CBI team which had visited Kabul, the officials said.

Former CBI Director Vijay Shanker had raised the issue last year with the FBI and conveyed to them that they were not doing enough to ensure the capture of the main accused in the hijacking of flight IC-814.

India had filed a chargesheet against 10 people including five hijackers and two accomplices in Pakistan besides Abdul Latif, Yusuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel who were handed down life imprisonment by a court last year.

The CBI has also secured an Interpol Red Corner notice against the hijackers -- Ibrahim Athar, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, Zahoor Ibrahim, Shahid Akhter Sayed and Shakir and accomplices Yusuf Azhar and Abdul Rauf, who played a key role in executing the hijacking in 1999. All the hijackers are in Pakistan, the sources said.

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