Key Baldia factory fire suspect Rehman Bhola arrested in Bangkok
BANGKOK: Police from Bangkok Crime Suppression Division (CSD) have arrested a key suspect wanted by Interpol and Pakistani authorities for Baldia factory incident, which caused more than 250 deaths and scores of injuries four years ago.
The Thai police traced him living in a five-star hotel in Bankok’s up-market area and arrested him.
About 40 commandos raided the Royal Garden Home Hotel in Soi Nana yesterday evening and arrested Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, 46, who was staying alone in the room, a police official told media.
“Thai Interpol tracked this suspect following an arrest warrant sought by the Pakistani authorities,” Thailand´s Interpol chief, Major General Apichart Suriboonya told AFP.
“He will be repatriated as soon as Pakistan is ready,” he added.
Last month, the anti-terrorism court (ATC) had severely reprimanded the concerned authorities for failing to arrest suspended chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committe, Hammad Siddiqui, and sector in-charge Baldia Town Abdul Rehman Bhola, the two main suspects of the case.
Pakistan police later found the suspect travelled to Thailand two weeks ago so they coordinated with Interpol and Thai police to track him down.
His wife told media that she last contacted Rehman couple of days ago but his mobile is off since yesterday. “Hospital management informed me about the raid and that Rehman has been arrested,” she added.
In September 2012, over 250 factory workers perished in the chemical factory fire. The incident was brushed off as having occurred owing to a short circuit but was later declared a case of arson; the factory was set ablaze owing to non-payment of protection money.
A joint investigation team probing the matter put the blame on some MQM members and activists including Siddiqui and Rehman. The party has repeatedly denied the allegations.