A CB-CID special investigation team has arrested an Al Umma hardliner who had been evading arrest for the last two years, from Chennai airport. SIT officials rushed to the airport after immigration authorities tipped them off about the arrival of M M Haroon Ismail (35) by a Thai Airlines flight from Bangkok. Ismail is an accused in the murder of Thangam Muthukrishnan, wife of Muthukrishnan, district secretary of Hindu Munnani, in Nagore in 1995.
He was also accused in an attempt to murder case after sending a letter bomb to assassinate the BJP district organizer in Myladuthurai in the same year. According to the police, Haroon Ismail and another Al Umma hardliner, Abubacker Siddique alias Kakka, who is still absconding, Rifayee of Karaikal, Raja Hussein of Madurai, Zahir Hussein and Zubeir of Coimbatore had sent a letter bomb to the address of Muthukrishnan in Nagore to kill him. However, Muthukrishnan was not in town when the letter bomb was delivered and his wife Thangam Muthukrishnan, who opened the parcel, was killed in the explosion.
Jeyaveerapandian, the then Myladuthurai BJP district organizer also received a similar letter bomb, but the police defused it. Police arrested all the accused except Abubacker Siddique and filed the chargesheet in both the cases in 1997. Abubacker Siddique is still absconding and the government has announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head. Ismail came out on bail in 1996 and appeared before the investigation agency as per court directions till 2005. However, he has been absconding since 2005. Later, it came to light that he had escaped to Dubai using his original passport.
Sources said the Thanjavur police, which arrested him, had not confiscated his passport, which ultimately helped him flee the country. CB-CID then intimated Interpol and immigration authorities and put him in the wanted list. Immigration authorities were also given the photograph of the accused. This helped when he landed in Chennai late on Monday night. His passport will expire in March and he came down to renew it. Moreover, his mother, who stood surety for his bail was summoned to appear before the Poonamallee special court on Wednesday. So far we have no news about any other reason for his visit to the city, a senior police officer said. Ismail was later produced before the magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.