With the police identifying three Iranians suspected to be involved in the bombing of an Israeli diplomat's car last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called the Iranian Ambassador Syed Mehdi Nabizadeh to South Block on Friday and requested his government's cooperation in unravelling the plot.
On a day when the Delhi police gave an official statement on the developments — ten days after the first arrest in the case — the MEA cautioned against drawing any conclusion, while choosing to use strong words to describe the bomb attack.
Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta said the arrested Indian journalist, Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, had been in touch with one of the Iranian suspects and his motive was money. Mr. Kazmi's son Turab Ali refuted the charge and said the money he received was sent in several transactions by his relatives working in Dubai and Sharjah. “It is not a huge amount and all of it is accounted for.” He would soon produce the evidence, he said.
At a press conference, Mr. Gupta identified the three suspected Iranians as Houshang Afshar Irani, Seyed Ali Mahdian and Mohammad Reza Abolghasemi. Although he did not reveal who was the bomber, police officers said it was perhaps Irani who had attached the bomb to the Israeli Embassy car.
Drawing a link between the car blast and the explosions in Bangkok a day after, Mr. Gupta said technical investigations revealed that Irani was in contact with the suspected head of a module active in Thailand who was intercepted in Malaysia after the arrest of two alleged accomplices in Bangkok for a similar but failed attempt.
“The arrest of Mr. Kazmi and his questioning led to the unravelling of the conspiracy of which he was a part. He also acted as a facilitator and was instrumental in the surveying of the Israeli Embassy and its surrounding areas by the Iranian suspects,” said Mr. Gupta.
According to the Police Commissioner, Mr. Kazmi disclosed that he twice went to Iran last year and was asked on both occasions by two of the suspects to provide assistance in India as and when required.
Stating that Irani was in regular contact with Mr. Kazmi, the police chief said the duo conducted reconnaissance of the Israeli Embassy and surrounding areas on a scooterette, which was later impounded from the scribe's residence. “The vehicle was bought by Irani from a Karol Bagh-based dealer. We have recovered documents to that effect,” said the Police Commissioner.
Mr. Kazmi, who is in police custody, is said to have disclosed that the Iranians on their own also surveyed the area housing the Israeli Embassy using Mr. Kazmi's car, which has been impounded. “His associates were specifically interested in the vehicles and routes used by Israeli diplomats,” said Mr. Gupta. Mr. Kazmi booked the return ticket for one of them and documents to this effect had been seized from the travel agency concerned.
Mr. Gupta said the arrested scribe's wife had so far received unaccounted foreign remittances of Rs.18.78 lakh and Mr. Kazmi Rs.3.8 lakh.
In a statement, the MEA spokesperson said: “Warrants for arrest of these persons have been issued and the process of issuing red-corner notices has been initiated. Investigations in the case are going on and no conclusions can be drawn at this stage. We have informed the Iranian Ambassador of these developments so as to seek cooperation.”