Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

25 09 2008

Indian Mujahideen men nabbed in Mumbai

Staff Reporter
Source: The hindu

Suspected in 7/11 Mumbai blasts case; explosives, weapons seized from them; they allegedly broke away from SIMI

Hunt on for more suspects


Mumbai: The Mumbai police have arrested five suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen. While Afzal Mutalib Usmani (32) was arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Mohammed Saddik Shaikh (31), Mohammed Arif Shaikh (38), Mohammed Zakir Shaikh (28) and Mohammed Ansar Shaikh were apprehended from their Mumbai residences on Tuesday night.

All the accused, originally from Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, have worked with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Joint Commissioner (Crime), Rakesh Maria told journalists.

“They broke away from SIMI to form the radical group of Indian Mujahideen. Saddik, was one of the co-founders of the outfit along with Atiq, killed in the Delhi encounter, and Roshan Khan, who is yet to be traced. The police are on the lookout for Khan.”

The police have booked the arrested persons under the Explosives Act, Arms Act, various sections of the Indian Penal Code and for criminal conspiracy. They have taken custody of them till October 7.

The police have also recovered explosives and ammunition from them. They have retrieved 10 kg. of gelatin or ammonium nitrate, 15 detonators, eight kg. of ball bearings, four fully active electronic circuits, one sub-machine carbine, two .38 revolvers and 30 cartridges of 9 mm carbine and eight cartridges of .38 revolver.

The source of the explosives and weapons is yet to be ascertained. However, the police presume it could be Karnataka, said Mr. Gafoor.

Hawala funds

While the source of finance is also to be investigated, Mr. Gafoor said the “money was coming through the hawala route.”

Mr. Maria described the role of the terrorists in the multiple blasts in the country since 2005, including the recent attacks in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi. He said the Indian Mujahideen was also involved in the planting of an unexploded bomb at Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the blast at the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, the blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, the Gorakhpur blasts in Lucknow and the 7/11 Mumbai blasts.

According to Mr. Maria, Afzal was responsible for the theft of the four motor vehicles from Navi Mumbai, which were used in the Ahmedabad blasts. He was also responsible for placing the explosive-laden vehicles at an Ahmedabad hospital and market place. Afzal was involved in a 1996 Shivaji Nagar (Mumbai) case of murder. He has nine cases against him including one under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime ACT (MCOCA).

Saddik came from Uttar Pradesh to settle in Cheetah Camp, Trombay, near Mumbai. He was working as a programme engineer in an electronic company in Mumbai. He was trained in a “hostile country” on two occasions for nine months and 45 days respectively. It was suspected that he was very high in the Indian Mujahideen hierarchy, Mr. Maria said.

Arif, an electrician by profession, was also trained outside in fabrication of bombs. “In particular, he is an expert in preparing an electronic circuit for bombs and is responsible for preparing the same in practically all the bomb blasts engineered by the Indian Mujahideen. In the initial stages, he was assembling bombs in Azamgarh and later he started doing it in Mumbai,” he said.

Zakir worked as a scrap dealer in Surat. Also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004, he was involved in the recent terror acts in Surat.

Ansar, resident of Cheetah Camp, was a close associate of Saddik. He was also trained in a “hostile country” in 2004.

Mr. Maria said the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) played a joint role in providing training to these five men.

Roshan Khan hails from Karnataka. His activities covered Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat.

Mr. Maria said Saddik was close to the alleged Delhi blast mastermind Atif. He was older than Atif and was his “controller.” Indian Mujahideen members were also under Saddik’s control.

He would plan where to send members for training and how many were to be sent. While Saddik would draw up plans, Atif would execute them.

“There is another person who is controlling them. His name is Amir Razzaq. His brother Asif Razzaq belonged to Kolkata’s Aftab Ansari group,” Mr. Maria said. He said Amir could be in Pakistan.

The arrested would converge at SIMI meetings. Another binding factor was their same place of origin, Azamgarh. Three of the five lived at Sanjarpur village in the district.

Mr. Maria said that to make identification difficult, the four persons settled in Mumbai told the 7/11 blast accused, with whom they worked, that they were Pakistanis. The Mumbai blast charge sheet mentions Pakistanis.

“All the 7/11 accused are in jail. The suspects thought to be Pakistanis are these people,” Mr. Gafoor said.

Responding to questions on the absconding suspect Abdus Subhan Qureishi alias Tauqeer, who is believed to have sent terror e-mails before the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts, Mr. Maria said that with the arrests made on Tuesday the e-mail case would be solved soon. He suspected that Tauqeer could be in touch with Roshan Khan.

‘Cannot be complacent’

“We have made a serious dent in terrorist activity, but we cannot be complacent. The hunt for more suspects is on, but the police cannot share operational details,” Mr. Gafoor said.

He said Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for the Crime Branch team.

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