Police on Friday said that suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Mohammad Tahir Hussain has gone into hiding, a day after he was booked for the murder and abduction of Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer Ankit Sharma during the communal riots in northeast Delhi’s Chand Bagh.
The police said that Hussain, booked after a complaint from Sharma’s parents, is absconding along with his family members and has switched off his cellphone. The last known location of his cellphone was near the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, an investigator associated with the case said, asking not to be named.
He possibly fled soon after the first information report (FIR) was registered at the Dayalpur police station, this officer added. Five police teams, including that the special cell and the anti-terror squad of the Delhi Police, are conducting raids at possible hideouts in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other adjoining states.
“We are questioning Hussain’s relatives, friends and neighbours to get clues about his whereabouts. Several raids were conducted till late evening (Friday) but he could not be found,” said an officer associated with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case, asking not to be named.
On Thursday, Hussain denied being involved in Sharma’s murder and said he will cooperate with the police investigation. The councillor, who was suspended from the party on Thursday, said he was at a relative’s residence when the rioting took place.
As the party came under fire over Hussain, AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said if any of his party members were involved in the riots, they should be given “double punishment”.
On Friday, a nine-member team of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) inspected Hussain’s house in Chand Bagh and collected evidence that may help the probe. A senior FSL official said, “Petrol bombs (Molotov cocktail), empty bottles, stones and bricks were found on the terrace and inside Hussain’s house.”
Police are also hunting for Shahrukh, who has been identified as the man seen firing bullets and pointing a gun at a policeman during one of the days when the riots took place. A team has been sent to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, the hometown of Shahrukh’s family. His friends and relatives in Delhi are also being questioned.