Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

3 Muslims Held, Delhi cops say 20 blasts planned

Posted by jagoindia on September 21, 2008

3 Held, Delhi cops say 20 blasts planned

NEW DELHI, AHMEDABAD, SEPTEMBER 21 The Delhi Police, probing the serial blasts in the city earlier this month, today said they had arrested three more suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen and claimed that the Terror module was planning at least 20 more blasts in the Capital, particularly targeting the commercial hub of Nehru Place. The three youths, police said, were suspected to have played roles in both the Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts.

The 13-member module, whose two activists were killed and five arrested, was also involved in blasts in Gorakhpur and Varanasi in the last two years, police said.

The three suspects, Zia-ur-Rehman (22), Mohammed Shakeel (24) and Saqib Nisar (23), were arrested from a rented accommodation — it had been rented by Saqib who, according to his brother Shakir, had taken the Civil Services examination in 2006 “because he wanted to root out corruption” — in Jamia Nagar. They were later remanded to police custody for 14 days.

Police officials said the three suspects had told them that Atif Ameen, killed in a shootout on Friday, was planning more blasts in the capital. “After the GK-I blasts, we formed ten different teams to track down suspects. We got a tip-off late Saturday and arrested them from the Jamia Nagar area,” DCP (South) H G S Dhaliwal told reporters.

While Zia is a BA final year student at Jamia, Shakeel is a MA (Economics) final year student. Nisar is a final year MBA correspondence course student of the Sikkim Manipal University.

In Ahmedabad, police said more suspects remain at large. “At least seven unidentified youths, who are suspected to be involved in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad, are still at large. We know that they are Hindi-speaking and may be from Uttar Pradesh. It is quite possible that these persons may also be involved in the Delhi blasts,” said Ashish Bhatia, Joint Commissioner of Police, DCB. “One of our teams in Delhi is also questioning Zia-ur-Rehman and Shakeel.”

On Saturday, ACP H R Muliana of DCB had said that Atif and Sajid, who were killed in Delhi on Friday, and Mohammed Saif, arrested the same day, were also involved in the Ahmedabad blasts. “The three were among the six who had stayed in Bungalow No. 10 in Al-Ahemadi society in Nabinagar near Narol circle,” Muliana said.

In Jaipur, police sources claimed that Saif and Zeeshan were allegedly involved in planting the bombs in the city that exploded on May 13. The two youths, the sources claimed, came to Jaipur on May 11 and left on the night of May 13 after the blasts.

Delhi Police today also arrested Zia-ur-Rehman’s father, Abdul Rehman, who is the caretaker of the L-18 building. Police claim that Rehman had forged the signature of the owner of the building in the rent agreement with Atif.

Police claimed that Zia admitted to having planted the bombs in Connaught Place and Palika Bazaar while Shakeel took the bomb to Gaffar Market. Saqib too was to go with Shakeel but one of the bombs developed a technical glitch and could not go.

The bombs, police said, were wrapped in double polythene bags and taken to target areas in school bags. “Atif had instructed his team to put some waste on the polythene bags before planting them in dustbins. This would deceive suspicious onlookers. The accused put the bomb in one polythene bag, wrapped it with another bag which was stuffed with banana peels,” DCP Dhaliwal said.

Police officials claimed that Zia was in charge of logistics and was the one who had arranged the L-18 flat where the encounter took place on Friday. Zia’s father Abdul Rehman is the stenographer of Mohsin Nissar, a UP Government official, whose flat was L-18. He had come in touch with Atif four years ago in Azamgarh, police claimed. Zia admitted to planting a bomb on a cycle in Maninagar in Ahmedabad, Dhaliwal claimed.

Mohammed Shakeel, Dhaliwal said, was in charge of indoctrinating the group, motivating them with extremist literature. The second-in-command of the 13-member module, he had roots in Azamgarh and had come in touch with Atif through cousin Shahdad, a childhood friend of Atif. Dhaliwal said that Shakeel was from a well-off family in Bulandshahr where his father had a printing press.

Saqib was the “tech-savvy one” and “the public image of the group”. With the help of his “good looks” and “polished talk”, it was his job to maintain good relations with neighbours, ensure no one got suspicious. He had done a survey of Karol Bagh before the bombs were planted.

Meanwhile, the interrogation of Mohammed Saif by the Special Cell of Delhi Police revealed that the group had a role in blasts that rocked Uttar Pradesh in the last two years. Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Karnail Singh said he had “evidence” to prove the Indian Mujahideen group was supported by SIMI and Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Singh said the group had links with ISI who had recruited and formed the local-origin group “after a lot of Pakistani terrorists were killed in police encounters in India”.

Singh said that Saif’s interrogation revealed that five members of the group were responsible for the blasts that rocked Varanasi in March 2006. “Saif, Atif, Sada Bhai, Junai and Saqib had gone to Varanasi to plant the bombs. Atif and Saif planted bombs in the market while Junaid planted a bomb in the railway station. Sada Bhai and Saqib planted it in the Sankat Mochan temple,” Singh said. He claimed that Atif, Saif and Salman had gone to Gorakhpur in November, 2007 and placed three bombs in milk containers in separate places.

According to Singh, an analysis of the laptop seized from the L-18 flat had provided “valuable evidences” to link the group with various blasts in the country. He claimed that a video depicting explosives used in Ahmedabad blasts was recovered. He also claimed that the bombs that exploded in the Capital were assembled at the L-18 flat while Saif had bought the explosives from Karnataka. — (With ENS from Jaipur)

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