The Hazaribagh police have arrested the man who was accused of harbouring the terrorists who attacked the American Centre, Kolkata in 2002, killing four policemen and injuring 20 others, after a 15-year manhunt.
Gulam Sarvar (40) who was absconding since the attack, was nabbed from Dhamania village in Bihar’s Gaya district on Friday evening and brought to Hazaribagh early Saturday. After a brief interrogation, police produced him in a local court which remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days.
In the attack on January 22, 2002, four gunmen on two motorcycles had sprayed bullets on the security personnel who were handing over charge to the morning shift personnel.
Soon after the attack, Central forces and Bengal police on the hunt for the terrorists zeroed in on their hideout at Hazaribagh and carried out a pre-dawn raid. While two of the key suspects-- Salim and Zahid--were gunned down, Sarvar and his cousin, Hassan Imam, who were also in the house during the encounter, managed to flee.
Sarvar, whose name had also featured prominently in the FIR lodged with the Hazaribagh Sadar police station as a suspect in the attack on the American Centre, had fled to Bihar and was absconding since then.
On March 3, 2016, Imam was arrested in Kolkata and put him behind bars.
Produced before the media on way to the court, Sarvar claimed he was innocent and denied any involvement in the American Center attack.
He said he was living peacefully in Hazaribagh when his cousin, Imam introduced him to the two terrorists as his friends and requested to arrange an accommodation for them.
“My mistake was that I had arranged a house for them at the behest of my cousin not bothering to verify their antecedents. I am paying for trusting a relative,” he said as he pleaded innocence.
“His crime other than helping them with an accommodation could not be established,” superintendent of police, Anup Birtharay said.