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Thursday , March 8 , 2012
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Gulf War journalist in blast case

New Delhi, March 7: A Delhi-based veteran Urdu journalist who had covered the second Gulf War was arrested today on the charge of criminal conspiracy in the bombing of an Israeli embassy car in the capital last month.

Delhi police claimed that Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, 50, who worked for a radio service in Iran, provided logistical support to the biker who stuck a magnetic bomb on the SUV. The blast on February 13 had injured Tal Yehoshua Koren, 42, the wife of the Israeli defence attache in Delhi, at a time tension was rising between Israel and Iran over the nuclear stand-off.

“We have got information that he was part of the conspiracy and more facts will be known after sustained interrogation. We are also looking for two other suspects,” Delhi police commissioner B.K Gupta told The Telegraph.

Asked whether the two suspects are from Iran, he said: “We cannot jump the gun now as the probe is still on.”

“According to the information we have got, Kazmi knew the bomber, who also stayed at his house in Jorbagh in south Delhi,” another officer said.

The Indian foreign ministry was guarded. “The investigation is pursuing various leads and no conclusions can be drawn at this stage,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the ministry spokesperson.

Media associates remembered Kazmi as an affable journalist deeply interested in West Asian affairs. He had covered the second Gulf War for Doordarshan from Baghdad.

“I was shocked to learn that Kazmi was arrested. I know him for the past 20 years and cannot believe the police’s claims. He is a cultured man and is a respectable journalist,” said Zafarul Islam Khan, the editor of the Milli Gazette.

“Personally, I think the police have targeted him as he was very vocal against Israel and its policies in his articles. And if this is the case, it is very unfortunate. The police have not disclosed what evidence they have got against him. They should make it public as picking up somebody on flimsy grounds has been their modus operandi,” Khan added.

Investigators refused to disclose any details in an open court, saying that might help the main accused escape. Kazmi, booked under sections dealing with criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder, has been remanded in police custody for 20 days.

Within a couple of hours of the Delhi explosion, Israeli officials had blamed Iran. But India had refused to blame any foreign power.

Kazmi’s eldest son Shauzab, 21, said his father was framed. “My father is innocent and the police are framing him,” the MBA student said.