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Wild car chase for cops

This was a chance for the Delhi Police to redeem itself after Wednesday’s blast at the Delhi High Court. However, all it ended up doing was run around in circles on a wild goose chase involving a conman, a few daily wagers and a stolen car. Karn Pratap Singh and Prabhu Razdan report.

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2011 23:30 IST

This was a chance for the Delhi Police to redeem itself after Wednesday’s blast at the Delhi High Court. However, all it ended up doing was run around in circles on a wild goose chase involving a conman, a few daily wagers and a stolen car.

The Delhi Police even announced a reward of Rs 25,000 to anyone in their department who would trace the Santro car (DL-9C-A-6034) in which the suspected terrorists had fled.

The tale started around 1 pm—two-and-a-half hours after the blast—at IGI Airport’s Terminal 3 when three men told CISF personnel that a man, dressed as a pilot, had disappeared in his Santro after giving them a black briefcase.

The CISF personnel immediately swung into action and called the Bomb Disposal Squad and Dog Squad. They found only a towel and some papers in the briefcase. The Delhi Police were informed two hours later.

The Delhi Police, in turn, found that the car was stolen from Daryaganj in 2009. Suspecting that the terrorists could have used the same car, a wireless message was flashed across the city to trace the car.

Meanwhile, the trio at the airport—Santosh, a resident of Nithari village in Noida, his son Ankur and friend Kuldeep, a resident of Dakshinpuri in south Delhi—were being questioned. Nearly 15 hours after fooling the police, the trio revealed how the fake pilot, identified as Naresh Chandra Jain, had duped them of Rs 28,000 by promising a job for Ankur at the airport.

Meanwhile, the car was found by an Anna Hazare supporter at an isolated field in Faridabad’s Sector 56. “Last evening I had watched Kiran Bedi on TV asking people to remain alert. The next day I recalled her advice and called the police,” said Sanjeet Kumar, a native of Muzaffarpur in Bihar who works for a doctor in Ballabgarh.

For the Delhi Police, relief came with the trio’s confession at the airport around 4am on Thursday.

The car was traced and after completing all the formalities, including collecting finger prints and other evidence, an official statement was made. “The car has nothing to do with the blast,” Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police spokesperson, said.