RAWALPINDI, Dec 19: An inquiry report is learnt to have disputed claims of Islamabad police that Rashid Rauf escaped while he was being taken to Adiala jail and termed the ‘mysterious disappearance’ story totally ‘concocted’.
“The escape was made good in the vicinity of F-8 Markaz, the district courts, Islamabad, and right after the hearing. And it is not a case of negligence but a case of criminal collusion with the accused and facilitating him to escape,” the report said.
Rashid Rauf has been described as a key suspect in an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic jetliners.
The report contains a letter described as ‘most urgent’ written by the superintendent of Adiala jail to the Superintendent of Police, Islamabad, dated December 10.
The jail superintendent had requested the SSP to provide necessary police guards for taking Rashid Rauf to the inquiry magistrate on December 15. But the request, made on the eve of Rauf’s production, was ignored.
The report contains statements of two constables, Mohammad Tufail and Nawabzada, saying they had transported Rashid Rauf from Adiala jail to Islamabad on three previous hearings. On December 15, ASI Raza and two constables went to Adiala jail for transporting some accused in a murder case. While on way to Adiala jail, constable Nawabzada rang up the Moharrir of police lines Islamabad seeking permission for bringing Rauf to the court.
The report said it was amazing that no other person was deputed that day for Rashid Rauf and, therefore, constable Nawabzada picked up the prisoner from Adiala jail.
The report said that while handing over the prisoner the jail authorities got a paper signed asking for extra security arrangements as the prisoner was a desperate and dangerous criminal.
The jail record suggested: “The accused is a dangerous person and involved in international activities. Therefore, he needed strict security. If any mishap happened with him while going to Islamabad the in-charge police will be responsible.”
The report said Nawabzada and Tufail took Rauf and other prisoners in the police van of Bara Kahu police station to the court. After the hearing, both the constables escorted Rauf out of the court and instead of a police van they put him in a private car, brought by Rashid Rauf’s uncle and drove back to Adiala. They removed the handcuff of Rauf at his request and stopped at a restaurant.
Later Rauf requested the constable to allow him to offer Zuhr prayers in a mosque from where he escaped. The constable along with Rauf’s uncle started looking for him and later, the uncle dropped the two constables at the Margalla police station and disappeared.
A source close to the investigation revealed that coming to know about the escape, the SSP contacted the uncle of Rauf on his cellphone and was told that Rauf had escaped from F-8 Markaz.
It is learnt that during previous hearings, the two constables, while on way to Adiala, had illegally taken Rauf to his uncle’s home.
The inquiry report also concluded that it was not the fault only of the two constables who had brought the accused from Adiala, but the entire Headquarters Establishment of the ICT police was responsible for not taking appropriate security measures.
According to sources, the telephone call record of the two constables suggested that Nawabzada and Tufail talked to each other at least three times after Rauf went missing. The location of Nawabzada was a private bus stand near Choor while Tufail was somewhere else, whereas both claimed that they had been guarding Rauf.
A senior security official said the name of Rauf had already been placed on the Exit Control List. His arrest in August 2006 prompted a major security alert at airports worldwide.
The ICT police’s claim of the jurisdiction of the escape of Rauf was belied after the registration of an FIR with the Margalla police station as the court concerned falls in its jurisdiction.