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India is staring down a long and arduous legal process to extradite alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) financer Abdul Wahid Siddibappa from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with Islamabad claiming him to be a Pakistani national, counter-terror sources told HT.
“Pakistan is creating hurdles in the extradition of Siddibappa who is not only a cousin of jailed top IM operative Ahmad Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal but is also believed to be brother-in-law of Riyaz Bhatkal, another key IM operative now based in Pakistan. Islamabad is trying to portray Wahid as a Pak national to stop his extradition to India,” said a counter-terror official requesting anonymity.
Wahid, 32, was arrested in Abu Dhabi in January this year. But rather than being deported like fellow IM suspect Faizan Azmi from Sharjah on Friday, the Abu Dhabi authorities decided to formally arrest him setting in motion a long legal process of extradition.
“The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sent a formal request for his extradition with all the evidence about his Indian nationality. But it seems that with one after another terror suspects being deported to India, especially from Saudi Arabia and UAE, Pakistan has decided to make things difficult for India as far as Wahid’s case is concerned,” said the official.
Earlier also Pakistan has tried similar tactics. At the time Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal’s deportation, one of the alleged handlers of 26/11 Mumbai attackers, from Saudi Arabia, Islamabad had raised doubts about his nationality.
But ultimately India managed to convince the Saudi authorities through a DNA match with his family members residing here that Jundal was an Indian national and he was sent to India in June, 2012. Besides being an alleged terror fianancer of IM, Wahid is also being probed for the 2006 Mumbai train serial blasts, and the 2010 Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts in Bangalore.