'After learning that an NIA team was camping in Patna, Alam himself voluntarily came to appear before them'

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday contested the Bihar Police’s claim that a suspect in Sunday’s Patna serial blasts had escaped from its custody, saying he was only a witness and was not under arrest.

Meanwhile, the Bihar police said they have arrested Darbhanga resident Mehre Alam from Kanpur and he would be brought to the State.

Alam was asked by the agency on October 23 to appear before the NIA investigating officer at its camp office in Bodh Gaya on October 29 as a witness in connection with probe into the Indian Mujahideen’s activities. The case is registered with the NIA as RC 06/2012.

After learning that an NIA team was camping in Patna in connection with the probe into the Patna serial blasts, Alam himself voluntarily came to appear before them, top officials of the agency said.

During examination, he disclosed that Hyder Ali, an accused in case number RC 06/2012, who is also an accused in the Patna blasts case, was hiding in Mirpur village in Muzaffarpur. A team of the NIA and the local police accompanied him to the village. The team searched for Ali but could not trace him.

After that they returned to Muzaffarpur and stayed in a lodge. Alam went out on the morning of October 30 on the pretext of answering the call of nature and did not return. After searching for him in the nearby area, the NIA team gave a report to the local police station for necessary action. “Since Mehre Alam, who was called as a witness only and was not arrested by the NIA, the question of his escape from our custody does not arise,” the agency said in a release.