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Tausif ‘missing after mystery call’

Calcutta, Dec. 6: Tausif Rehman, one of the two men held for buying a SIM card found on a slain Mumbai terrorist, had “disappeared” from his Beniapukur home on Tuesday following a “mysterious” call on his cellphone, his family said.

The Rehmans were apparently clueless about his whereabouts till police turned up at their home in Ostagar Lane this morning to say Tausif would be produced in court today.

Tausif’s uncle Selim Ahmed, who lives in the same house, said: “On Tuesday night, I saw Tausif having an animated conversation with someone on the phone. The caller was probably asking him to come out and Tausif refused, saying he was sleepy. The conversa- tion ended with that. Around 11.15pm, his cellphone rang again. This time, the conversation was brief. Tausif got up, dressed and left the house. We don’t know what he did after that.”

The family, however, knew the 21-year-old was in trouble when a posse of policemen arrived at daybreak on Wednesday, looking for his red cap in which a SIM card was hidden.

“I opened the door to see about 15 to 20 policemen standing there,” said Tausif’s father Hafizul, in his mid-70s.

“They said they wanted to search my son’s room. I showed them the room where my son lives with his newly married wife,” he said. “They burst into the room.”

Hafizul recounted that the police specifically asked for a red cap his son would often wear. He handed it over, and the police took a SIM card out.

They took away Tausif’s cellphone and told Hafizul they did not know where his son was.

“If they had so much information, including where my son had hidden a SIM card, how could they not know where he was?” Hafizul said.

Selim said the police visit convinced the family Tausif was in their custody “somewhere” and so they didn’t bother lodging a missing complaint.

“We know these things happen, how people are detained by the police without being officially arrested. If they knew so much about Tausif, they would also know where he was,” Selim said.

Hafizul said Selim and he had gone to the Beniapukur and Park Street police stations on Wednesday morning.

“But they said they had no idea about my son’s whereabouts. They suggested we go to the missing persons’ squad at the Lalbazar police headquarters. We didn’t because we knew it was futile.”

Sources said that between Tuesday night and Friday, the police had questioned Tausif in a “safe house” to gather evidence against him and trap Mukhtar Ahmed, the other suspect arrested.

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