Chidambaram says Wazhul Khan episode a ‘genuine mistake’

Home minister Chidambaram has accepted the responsibility for the ’50 most wanted’ goof up involving the listing of the arrested Wazhul Kamar Khan in a list given to Pakistan.

“The Mumbai police did not formally communicate the news of the arrest to the CBI when the arrest took place [in August 2010,]” Chidambaram said.

He said, however that, in a different context, the Mumbai police did inform the Centre of the arrest, but not the CBI. “The information about the arrest was lying around.. someone should have been more diligent in compilation… the dot was not connected,” he said.

The information was not added to the database in which the red-corner notice requests were stored, he explained.

When asked whether Khan had been to Pakistan, Chidambaram said that Khan has said that he lost his passport.

After being on the run for several years, Khan, accused in the 2003 Mulund bomb blasts, was caught in May 2010 and released on bail in August the same year.

“It was a genuine human error.. The formal communication came to CBI only yesterday. Such errors should not occur,” he said.

He pointed out that Khan was on the ‘most wanted list’ passed on by India to Pakistan in 2007 as well.

“When he was arrested, his name should have been taken off the list,” he said, calling the matter a “genuine oversight and a genuine mistake.”

The episode has come as a blot on the tenure of Chidambaram — arguably one of the most effective home ministers in India.