Spotted in class, inducted into terror

11 10 2008

Mumbai, October 10 Software engineer Mohammed Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy (31) had been identified for indoctrination as far back as 2004.A group people scouting for young Muslim men spotted Peerbhoy in an Arabic class. The group then kept tabs on Peerbhoy, alleged Indian Mujahideen suspect Asif Bashir Shaikh told the Mumbai Police Crime Branch dring investigation.

Describing Asif as a “bad apple” in the class, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said: “The classes or the institutes that teach Arabic have nothing to do with such groups. People like Asif scout for such recruits at these places, without the knowledge of the institutes.”

The group kept a watch on Peerbhoy. In 2006 he was again trailed from the local mosque in Pune. “Once it had fully indoctrinated him, the group sent him for the ethical hacking course. He was later sent to Bhatkal for other training,” said Maria. Maria also said that “quite a few” men who had been indoctrinated went on to leave the group as they felt that it was the wrong thing to do. “There are many like them who have given us leads and were helpful in the investigation,” he said.

Peerbhoy has allegedly told the investigators that the Terror e-mails he sent were on Riyaz Bhatkal’s brief. Peerbhoy, Mubin alias Salman Kadar Sheikh (24) had conducted a recce for non-secure WiFi connections on five separate occasions. “On July 26, they left Pune at 10 am and reached Sanpada. They spent their time having lunch and strolling in the garden nearby,” adds Maria.

On the third occasion, they were supposed to send the mail at 6.20 pm but it got delayed till 6.26. “It was the day before the immersion and the crowd around Chembur was so large that they struggled to park their car,” adds Maria.

Interrogation has also established the manner in which the mails were sent. “Peerbhoy, Salman and Arif Badruddin Shaikh (38) would be driven down by Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chaudhary in a blue Esteem. Chaudhary and Arif would stand outside, masking the number plates from both sides, while Peerbhoy and Mubin would send the e-mail,” said Maria.Investigations have also shown that the Gujarat blasts had been initially planned for September 19. “The blasts were later shifted to September 26,” said Maria, adding that the cars placed in Ahmedabad had been fitted with four additional LPG cylinders for maximum impact.

The explosives, sourced from Karnataka, were taken via Pune and later to Surat through state transport, said Maria, adding that the group used state transport buses extensively. The group had called Mohd Arif Shaikh to Karnataka to assemble the circuits.