Terror suspect’s secretariat visit leads to political row in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Dec 24 (IANS) A visit that terror suspect Abdul Rehman made in October to the Odisha secretariat has triggered a political row with the opposition accusing the ruling BJD of having links with the man arrested last week in Cuttack.

Rehman, who is said to be a member of Al Qaeda in India Subcontinent (AQIS), had allegedly visited the health and the school and mass education departments at the secretariat on October 7 after getting an entry pass issued to him.

“If police claims that he was under watch, how could it be possible to get a pass for the state secretariat and meet ministers and secretaries? This needs to be probed thoroughly,” said the Leader of the Opposition from Congress Narasingh Mishra.

He said Rehman’s visit to the secretariat suggested that he had a good rapport with the ruling BJD and that there might be many others like him involved in spreading their tentacles in Odisha.

The Congress leader demanded a high level free and fair probe to unearth the link that the terror suspect might have with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pratap Sarangi also suspected a relationship between Rehman and some BJD MLAs.

“Unless some BJD MLAs have a relation with the terrorist, how could he get a secretariat pass? And how did he get a passport? All these need to be probed,” said Sarangi.

School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra denied meeting Rehman, saying he learnt about the terror suspect getting himself a pass issued at the secretariat from media reports.

“If he had come to the state secretariat, it needs to be probed. His purpose of visit would also be probed,” said the minister.

Tahir Ali Khan, brother of the arrested Al Qaeda terror suspect, had earlier stated that the arrest of his brother is aimed at defaming Odisha and the ruling BJD, while pleading the innocence of his brother.

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