Interpol will within days issue a red-corner notice for the arrest of Saudi Arabia-based engineer Fasih Mehmood, sought by India for his alleged role in the April 2010 bomb attacks at a Bangalore cricket stadium, highly-placed police sources have told The Hindu.
Karnataka police sources said the warrant will open the way for Mr. Mehmood to be deported to India, where police wish to question him about his movements in the days before April 17, 2010 — the date five improvised explosive devices were planted outside the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.
Immigration records obtained by investigators, they said, show Mr. Ahmad was visiting India at the time of the attack, lending some weight to allegations about his involvement made by suspects earlier arrested from Darbhanga in Bihar.
“I'm not at this stage saying that Mr. Mehmood was involved,” a senior officer said, “and I am not saying he was not involved. I am saying we are seeking to question him, through the appropriate legal process, on some issues that have arisen during investigation.”
Earlier this month, police obtained a warrant for Mr. Mehmood's arrest, on the basis of five First Information Reports filed at the Cubbon Park police station in 1996, and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to seek an Interpol red-corner notice — a legal device that obliges member-states of the international police organisation to apprehend suspects on sight.
Mr. Mehmood's family has alleged that the al-Khobar-based engineer is being held without charge by Saudi Arabia's intelligence services for the past several weeks.
Feroz Ahmad, Mr. Mehmood's father, however, told The Hindu the engineer was not in India when the bombings took place. “In February, 2010,” said Dr. Ahmad, who runs the Benipatti primary health centre in Bihar's Madhubani district, “my son came home because I was unwell. He left India on March 27, 2010, before the bombing in Bangalore.”
Mr. Mehmood, who moved to Saudi Arabia in 2007, obtained his Bachelor's degree in technology from a college in the coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal. His family says he knew Karachi-based jihadist, Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri, one of the Indian Mujahideen's three top commanders, as a student, but denies he had any knowledge of or association with terrorist activities.
Karnataka investigators had, in 2010, told The Hindu that the attacks were likely to have been carried out by a jihadist cell led by Mr. Shahbandri's key lieutenant, who operates under the code-name Yasin Bhatkal. Yasin Bhatkal identified by the Central Bureau of Investigation as 1973-born Bhatkal resident Ahmad Zarar Siddibapa, is wanted by Interpol for multiple terrorism-related crimes.
Police began investigating Mr. Mehmood's possible role in the cell in November, after the arrest of several of Mr. Siddibapa's alleged associates from Darbhanga, in Bihar. Police have so far made seven arrests linked to the bombing.