After representatives of various intelligence agencies and police units grilled the two men who deplaned from the Chennai-Delhi Dreamliner on Wednesday, they were finally allowed to go.
In all, they were held in CISF and police custody for almost 30 hours, before they grudgingly bought the duo’s story that they had ‘innocently’ boarded the plane to take pictures of themselves on board. A police source confirmed that Mansoor (19) had left with his parents, who had arrived from Kerala in a worried state, on Thursday morning. It was Ameer Thwhah (34), a travel agent who operated primarily out of Thiruvananthapuram, who had the police worried because of his alleged links with the National Development Front (NDF), which has been categorised as a militant group in Kerala. This group was in the news for its alleged ties with ISI-related operations in Kerala, said to have been backed by Pakistan.
As the duo stuck to their story and there was no evidence to suggest that they had been plotting anything illegal, the police had little choice but to take recorded statements and release them. However, officials admitted that their stories appeared illogical.
“Being a travel agent, he would have known that there will be minimal refund after deplaning a flight and yet he seemed surprised when we told him that there would be no money returned,” said a policeman. The most jarring inconsistency, he added, was the fact that they spent `36,500 on tickets, but chose to spend the previous night on a platform at Chennai Central after arriving here from Trivandrum.
Though it was unconfirmed, police indicated that Twahah had done similar board-photograph-deplane routines on smaller flights in Kerala, indicating a dangerous precedent.