5 IM suspects held in Mumbai, police say terror strike foiled

25 09 2008

‘All Recent Attacks Their Handiwork’

S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Source: TOI
Mumbai: The Mumbai police on Wednesday claimed to have pre-empted a possible terror attack on the city and cracked the Indian Mujahideen (IM) jigsaw puzzle after arresting five alleged operatives from four different places in and around the city in raids conducted over the last few days.
The five, they said, were responsible for stealing four cars from Navi Mumbai, two of which were used in the July blasts in Ahmedabad. The remaining two cars, laden with explosives, were recovered from Surat streets.

Mumbai commissioner of police Hasan Gafoor said one of the five arrested, Mohammad Sadiq Sheikh, was also a founder member of the Indian Mujahideen.Officials said Sadiq had “controlled’’ the Delhi IM module head Atiq (gunned down in last week’s encounter), and added that he was quite high up in the IM hierarchy. Additional commissioner of police Deven Bharti said Sadiq had been in touch with the Atiq module three days before its members were shot dead in Delhi.
Officials said the five had also confessed to planting some of the bombs on Mumbai’s trains on July 11, 2006, giving a new twist to the case.

THE BOMB SQUAD

SADIQ SHEIKH (FOUNDER, INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN)
Age: 31

Permanent Address:
Sanjarpur in UP’s Azamgarh district

Temporary Address:
Cheetah Camp, Trombay, Mumbai

Profession:
Programme engineer in an electronics company in Mumbai

Link In Chain :
He is said to be one of the founder-members of Indian Mujahideen. He controlled the outfit’s Delhi terror module chief
Atiq, who was killed in last week’s encounter in Delhi

AFZAL USMANI (CAR THIEF)
Age: 32

Permanent Address:
Azamgarh

Temporary Address:
Nehru Nagar, Kurla

Profession:
Scrap dealer

Link In Chain
Belongs to the Fazl-ur-Rahman gang. Said to have stolen the four cars from Navi Mumbai used in the Gujarat blasts, planted
bombs in Ahmedabad. Has 9 cases, including one under MCOCA

MOHD ARIF SHEIKH (BOMB-WIREMAN)
Age: 38

Permanent Address:
Azamgarh

Temporary Address:
Mumbra

Profession:
Electrician

Link In Chain
Is said to be an expert in setting up the electronic circuits used in bombs; has been doing this since 2005. Planted the car bombs in Surat that were detected and defused before they exploded

MOHD ZAKIR SHEIKH (BOMBER)
Age: 28
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address:
Bhiwandi

Profession:
Scrap dealer

Link In Chain
Vital link who would shuttle between Mumbai and Surat for his
trade; was one of the persons who planted the Ahmedabad
bombs and went to Pakistan for weapons and explosives training

SHEIKH MOHD ANSAR (SOFTWARE EXPERT)
Age: 31
Permanent Address: Azamgarh
Temporary Address:
Cheetah Camp

Profession:
Software engineer

Link In Chain
Is one of IM founder-member Sadiq’s closest associates. He is believed to have trained in Pakistan in 2004 and is the unquestioned electronics expert in the group

Breakthrough came with car thief’s arrest, say police
Mumbai: All the five suspected terrorists arrested by the Mumbai police—Mohd Sadiq Sheikh (who is a father of three), Afzal Usmani, Mohammad Arif Sheikh, Mohammad Zakir Sheikh and Sheikh Mohammad Ansar—are from Azamgarh in UP. Police officials said they had been arrested from various locations in and around Mumbai—Nehru Nagar (Kurla), Cheeta Camp (Trombay) and Mumbra and Bhiwandi (both in Thane)—in the last two days.

Significantly, neither chief of the anti-terrorism squad Hemant Karkare nor DGP A N Roy were present at the press meet. Sadiq, the undisputed leader of the module, was a programme engineer in an electronics company, officials said. But the e-expert in the group was software engineer Ansar, they added. The organisation, officials said, was backed by the HuJI and LeT.

Officials claim to have recovered a huge cache of explosives and arms from hideouts in Kurla and Sewri. The gelatin sticks, ammonium nitrate, detonators, ball bearings, electronic circuits, sub-machine gun, revolvers and cartridges found were enough to cause mayhem in Mumbai, the police said.

Officials said it was Sadiq who would take money and instructions from Pakistan-based Amir Reza and Roshan Khan. He would then pass them on to his module members and they would choose their targets. The five would then take up houses on rent to assemble their deadly cocktail. Joint CP (crime) Rakesh Maria said the first breakthrough came from Afzal, who was arrested by the property cell in connection with the car thefts from Navi Mumbai.

Afzal was arrested a week ago, Maria said, but he broke down on Tuesday. “We are still to arrest many from Mumbai and its outskirts who gave these people logistical support in making, planting and transporting bombs,’’ he said. Inquiries revealed the group had been active for a few years. “The module is responsible for planting bombs in Jaunpur, Sankat Mochan, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Faizabad and Ahmedabad,’’ Gafoor said.

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