His disappearance triggers speculation that he has ‘inside information' about the 2003 murder

Becoming incommunicado all of a sudden, while being a call away from some police officers handling him, is not new to Nayeemuddin.

Yet, the ‘latest disappearance' of this Naxal renegade, accused of involvement in many sensational and controversial cases in Andhra Pradesh, is raising many an eyebrow. This time, however, the reasons cited for his vanishing act are not suspicions of his complicity in another routine crime.

Speculation is rife that Nayeemuddin had ‘inside information' about the 2003 murder of the former Home Minister of Gujarat, Haren Pandya, which case took a U-turn with the Gujarat High Court acquitting 11 accused persons convicted by the trial court. Some believe his vanishing act is part of a ploy to bury whatever crucial details he knew about the case, what with the acquittal kicking off a debate on who the real killers are.

A terror suspect, Ashgar Ali of Nalgonda, and 11 others were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation a month after Haren Pandya's murder. They were chargesheeted in September 2003. In 2007, the trial court held them guilty of conspiring to carry out terrorist activities and killing the BJP leader, and sentenced them to life.

The High Court, however, observed that the CBI botched up the investigation, and pointed out many loopholes in connecting the accused with the crime. Though the CBI moved the Supreme Court in appeal, speculation began if persons other than Asghar Ali and his associates were involved in the murder.

In some cop and criminal circles, it is believed that if these men were not involved in the case, then Nayeemuddin knows who really killed Haren Pandya. “Some brushed this aside as baseless. But it must be noted that Nayeemuddin's name cropped up in many such sensational cases including in the abduction of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi and their elimination by the Gujarat police,” an investigator said.

Is Nayeemuddin's hiding an act of evading investigators in the light of the speculation that persons other than Asghar Ali were connected to Haren Pandya killing? Police officials handling Nayeemuddin are tight-lipped on this.

From being a member of a Naxalite squad that allegedly shot down IPS officer K.S. Vyas in Hyderabad in 1993, he turned against the rebels after coming out of prison on bail.

Civil rights activists allege some police officials used Nayeemuddin to execute certain tasks which they couldn't accomplish legally. From the killing of civil rights activist Purushotham at Dilsukhnagar here 11 years ago to the murder of surrendered Maoist and TRS leader Sambashivudu in March, he was suspected of being involved in several cases.

The latest is the killing of Patlolla Goverdhan Reddy, a former extremist leader, who was hacked to death during daytime a couple of km away from the city police chief's office on December 27, 2011. DGP V. Dinesh Reddy, at a year-end review press conference, directed Special Intelligence Branch officials to nab Nayeemuddin immediately following a query about the surrendered ex-Naxalite's involvement in different cases.

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