Suspected top JeM militant Nannu Mia alias Billal Mandal has told investigators that he facilitated the movement from Bangladesh to India of several militants linked to the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999 to Kandahar.
“Nannu Mia alias Belal Mandal alias Billal told us during interrogation that he helped enter such 12-13 militants into India from Bangladesh. He knows one Abdur Rahman among them,” an official was quoted as saying by The Daily Star newspaper on Saturday.
35-year-old Billal was among the five operatives of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), including its Pakistani coordinator in Bangladesh Rezwan Ahmed, nabbed here by the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) last Sunday.
Four of the five operatives including Billal are Bangladeshi citizens and have link with banned militant organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh. They also have links with JeM.
Pakistani national Rezwan was believed to be a recruiter for operations in India.
Billal told the special interrogation team that he was introduced with Rezwan around seven to eight months back through another Pakistani national and suspected JeM militant Zawad.
“And he (Billal) again started working for Jaish-e-Mohammed for the last three months and have already received Taka 60,000 from Rezwan,” the official, who quizzed the JeM militant, told the Bangladeshi daily.
In December 1999, militants hijacked the Delhi-bound Indian Airlines flight 814 from Kathmandu to Kandahar. The NDA-led government in India was forced to release four terrorists, including Jaish founder Moulana Masood Azhar, for the safe passage of the passengers.
An Indian probe team is set to visit Bangladesh to quiz Billal to ascertain his exact role in the hijacking.