Mumbai trail may lead to Kolkata

Posted on July 16, 2011


Hunt On For Missing Beniapukur Youth

Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali | TNN 14th July 2011

Mumbai: The trail of the triple attacks on some of Mumbai’s richest trading hubs may lead to a narrow Kolkata bylane in one of its poorest areas. Anti-terrorism squad probing the blasts are trying to trace a Kolkata-based Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative, Abdullah alias Nata.

Sources said that in February this year, the intelligence agencies had intercepted some phone calls between some locations in Bengal and Karachi. Another call was intercepted between Sharjah and Andhra
Pradesh. “The agencies, through interceptions, came to know that the IM was reportedly recruiting fresh faces from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal,’’ said the sources.

On Friday, Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad chief Rakesh Maria spoke to Kolkata Special Task Force chief Rajeev Kumar and sought details about Abdullah, a resident of Mafidul Islam lane in Beniapukur.

A police officer said, “Abdullah is learnt to be very close to Amir Reza Khan, co-founder of the IM. While Reza is absconding since the arrest of IM operatives in 2008, security agencies suspect that he was in touch with Abdullah,” said a police source.

According to Kolkata Police officials, Abdullah was recruited by Amir Reza Khan’s brother Asif in the late Nineties. After Asif’s death, he joined Amir’s Asif Reza Commando Force and played an important role in the 2002 USIS attack in Kolkata. Abdullah’s name first cropped up during investigations into extortion calls made to six Kolkata businessmen in 2010. A probe revealed IM was behind the calls. The NIA believes Abdullah could be operating from Nepal. He last called his home in Kolkata around eight months ago when his father died. But police failed to trace the origin of the call as it was on VOIP and masked by fake IDs.

The Mumbai ATS has asked for the reservation chart of all trains that left Kolkata for Mumbai up to eight days before the blast. Police suspect IM’s Azamgarh module could also be involved. A team of the Uttar Pradesh special task force arrived in Mumbai and interacted with ATS officials.

The ATS is also probing whether the underworld regrouped in the city and triggered the blasts or if HuJI, which recruited four youths in February, was involved. Two of the youths were from Bengal.

(With inputs from Caesar Mandal in Kolkata) 120 phone nos now under surveillance

Mumbai: Police traced the vehicle on which explosives were kept at Zaveri Bazar to a jeweller who was not involved in the conspiracy.

Initial reports from the forensic experts suggest TNT or RDX may have been used in the blasts, particularly in Opera House, where the explosion left a 3 ftx 3ft crater. Police sources said around 100 people, including former SIMI members and friends of IM’s arrested or wanted suspects, were summoned at various police stations, crime branch units and ATS offices in the city.

Their statements and information on their last one week’s activities were being typed into the police record. “As many as 120 phone numbers have been brought under surveillance after the blasts,” said a source.

Police are trying to get information through the ‘neutralised’ ex-cadres of various banned organizations but it did not achieve any success till Friday evening.

A threat email sent after the blasts has been traced to Saudi Arabia. But police sources said that it was a hoax mail and had been sent using a proxy server. The mail was supposedly sent by the joint action wing of the Hyderabad-based Telangana Agitation Movement. The mail was sent to a private television channel.

All through the day, several police teams scanned the voluminous CCTV footage obtained from the three sites. Union home secretary R K Singh said the footage was copied into CDs and scrutinised by the investigators and they were going through the 11 CDs made from the footage. “Now, we have all the people and the faces appeared. They have to be recognised by local people to see whether they are locals or outsiders,” Singh said.