Staff Reporter

Wasim was nabbed from Connaught Place in the Capital Wasim had allegedly killed three local leaders in Aligarh in May

NEW DELHI: The Crime Branch of Delhi police on Monday claimed to have arrested the man, who had allegedly killed three local leaders in Aligarh in May that led to riots in which 22 people were killed. The Uttar Pradesh police had declared a reward of Rs. 3 lakhs on the accused, Wasim Akhtar alias Bunty.

According to the police, the accused was arrested near Odeon Cinema in Connaught Place on Sunday evening. He was arrested under Section 41.1 (arrest of person declared offender by another State) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The police said Wasim had killed Rajendra Kumar Gupta alias Raju Samosawala in broad daylight in Kotwali area of Aligarh on May 19. On May 23, he killed Raman Varshney, who ran a medical store in Banna Devi locality. Five days later, he killed Om Prakash alias Lala, a secretary in a local merchants' association at Delhi Gate in Aligarh.

All the three victims were active in local politics and espoused the cause of one particular community. Following the three killings, riots broke out in the city and 22 people lost their lives. Curfew had to be imposed in several areas for weeks to ensure peace. Subsequently, Wasim went underground when his name came up during investigations into the three killings.

During interrogation, the accused allegedly confessed to having killed the three local leaders. He also allegedly told the police that after committing a few sensational crimes at a young age of 23 -- like facilitating the escape of gangsters Yasin and Adnan from Aligarh jail by bringing down one of the jail walls -- his stature in the crime world had increased and several local politicians had begun "nurturing" him.

Around the same time, some people associated with madrasa activities allegedly brain washed him, the police said. They apparently made him aware of his minority status and lured him into committing crimes that served political means of nefarious elements active in Aligarh belt. Subsequently, Wasim committed the three murders.

While on the run, Wasim and his associates kidnapped Mammon Wasanwala, a prominent heart specialist of Aligarh and demanded Rs. 50 lakhs as ransom. The U.P. police managed to rescue the doctor in Aligarh. Wasim managed to escape and then came to Delhi and remained in hiding at various places , including SRK Hostel in Jamia Millia Islamia, Batla House, Jamia Nagar and Bhogal. He also went to Agra for a brief period.

A joint team of the Special Cell of the Delhi police, the Crime Branch and the Intelligence Bureau is questioning Wasim to ascertain his links SIMI , the police said. Meanwhile, Aligarh police have been informed about the arrest.