CBI charges IC405 hijacker 'Harfan Maula' for acquiring 'fake' Afghan passport - Firstpost
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CBI charges IC405 hijacker 'Harfan Maula' for acquiring 'fake' Afghan passport

New Delhi: A dreaded pro-Khalistan terrorist, who had hijacked Srinagar-New Delhi Indian Airlines flight in 1984 and taken it to Lahore, has now been charged by CBI with cheating and forgery in acquiring an Afghan passport under assumed identity to migrate to Canada.

In a recent charge sheet filed here, the agency has accused Parminder Singh Saini alias Harfan Maula for allegedly acquiring fake Afghan passport in the name of Balbir Singh while in Pakistan in 1995, CBI sources said.

The agency has said that Saini used this passport to migrate to Canada where he got himself issued driving and social security licenses on the basis of forged travel documents which he had acquired in Pakistan.

The sources said although the agency had taken over case of hijacking, initially registered by Budgam police on 5 July, 1984 but could not proceed with it because of conviction for the same crime in Pakistan which had given highest possible punishment to Saini.

He was later released and migrated to Canada using fake identity of Balbir Singh, the sources said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

In its charge sheet filed in Patiala House Court, CBI has cited Letters Rogatory received from Canada where Saini was apprehended in 1995 after his fraud came to light, they said.

Saini was deported to India in 2010 after a long legal battle in Canada where he had sought permanent residency.

The hijacking had taken place on July 6, 1984 when the Indian Airlines flight IC 405 from Srinagar to New Delhi carrying 255 passengers and a crew of nine on flight forced to land in Lahore, Pakistan.

The terrorists had demanded release of Harmandar Singh Sandho, General Secretary of the All-India Sikh Students Federation, and others prominent members besides USD 25-million in money which should be paid to them in Pakistan among other demands.

Saini, who was believed to be the mastermind of hijacking, surrendered along with seven others accomplices before Pakistani authorities after 17 hours, ending the ordeal for passengers on the A-300 airbus.

The Pakistan authorities refused to return these eight Sikh terrorists to India and carried out trial in their own court which sentenced them to death for hijacking.

Saini remained in Lahore Jail from 1984-95. In December 1989, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the then Benazir Bhutto government under a general amnesty scheme, they said citing from the charge sheet.

The Pakistan government released him in 1995 with instructions to leave the country to the country of his choice within one month, the sources said.

Saini arranged a fake Afghan passport while in Pakistan with an assumed identity of Balbir Singh to migrate to Canada February 3, 1995.

The sources claimed that it would not have been possible for a convicted terrorist to leave that country on the basis of fake passport unless some sort of support mechanism existed for him there.

Saini managed to acquire driving license and social security documents while in Toronto before he was exposed by the local authorities in September, 1995.

CBI sources said they carried out investigation in Canada through Letter Rogatory. The sources said they could not carry out investigation in Pakistan as it was not needed. They said agency has got enough evidence from Canada to prosecute him on these charges.

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