India asks Malaysia to extradite bombing suspect

Investigators hone in on key suspect, an Iranian national, in embassy bombing; Indian Muslims to protest Kazmi's arrest.

By KANCHAN GUPTA, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
March 18, 2012 01:40
2 minute read.
Vehicle is towed away in India: Illustrative)

Israeli vehicle is towed away from embassy_390. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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NEW DELHI – Investigators have zeroed in on the key conspirator, an Iranian national, behind the February 13 bombing of an Israeli embassy car, and want him extradited from Malaysia where he is currently in police custody.

Delhi Police have sought the assistance of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, which deals with international crime, in securing the extradition of Masod Sedaghatzadeh. Interpol has been approached to issue a “Red Corner” notice.

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A court here has issued an “open warrant” for Sedaghatzadeh’s arrest, which is a prerequisite.

According to sources, Sedaghatzadeh was the head of the “terror module” which had planned similar bombings targeted at Israeli Embassy personnel in Bangkok. The Bangkok plot fell apart when one of the terrorists, an Iranian national, blew up the bombs he was carrying, along with his legs.

Sedaghatzadeh is believed to have also “guided the bombers in Delhi.”

Police said Houshang Afshar Irani, the Iranian who allegedly planted the “sticky bomb” on the Israeli Embassy car in Delhi, “was in touch with Sedaghatzadeh.”

The Iranian mastermind behind the Delhi attack has been charged under the tough anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Substances Act and the Indian Penal Code.

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According to the police, scrutiny of the record of telephone calls from and to Delhi has revealed that Sedaghatzadeh was in touch with Irani. The calls are also believed to show the involvement of Indian journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi who was arrested on March 6. Kazmi’s call records show he was in contact with Irani.

On Friday, Delhi Police began the formal process of securing Interpol Red Corner notices against three other Iranians – Houshang Afshar Irani, Syed Ali Mahdiansadr and Mohammadreza Abolghasemi. Open warrants have been issued against them too.

The police believe they carried out the bombing and left India soon after that. Sources said the investigators “have a fair idea” of where they are at the moment. But there has been no official comment.

Investigations have led the police to believe that the Iranian conspirators conducted the first reconnaissance of the area around the Israeli Embassy in the heart of Delhi in May 2011. The information was used to prepare the blueprint for the attack.

The conspirators returned to Delhi in January and fine-tuned their plan after studying the pattern of arrivals and departures by diplomats and personnel at the embassy.

Kazmi, who insists he is innocent and has been “falsely framed” by the police, has approached a local court with the complaint that he is being “interrogated by Mossad agents.” The police have denied the allegation.

Supporters of Kazmi, a Shia, have been trying to mobilize protesters to rally for his release. A Shia scholar on Saturday told journalists that “members of the [Shia] community would stage a march in Lucknow [capital of the State of Uttar Pradesh which has a sizable Muslim and Shia population] on March 23 and lay siege to Parliament on March 26 to protest Kazmi’s arrest.”

The police, however, are standing firm with investigators insisting that they have stacked up irrefutable evidence against Kazmi to prove his involvement in the February 13 attack.

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