Rourkela: Four suspected SIMI terrorists arrested in a joint operation

The 3-hour-long operation jointly conducted by special tactical unit of Odisha’s Special Opeation Group, Telangana police and IB officials started late midnight at Mala Road under Plant site police station area of Rourkela, said police.

Three SIMI linked fugitives who escaped from a prison in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh in October 2013 and suspected to be involved in a series of bomb blasts and robberies around the country have been arrested in Rourkela in Odisha following a joint operation involving the Odisha and Telangana police along with the Intelligence Bureau.

A SIMI associate of the three fugitives suspected to be involved in some of the crimes and the elderly mother of one of the operatives were among those picked up by police from a house in the steel city of Rourkela early on Wednesday morning.

The three fugitives from Khandwa who have been nabbed have been identified as Sheikh Mahboob alias Guddu, 26, Amjad Khan alias Daud, 26, and Zakir Hussein alias Sadiq, 33. Their associate has been identified as Mohammed Khalid. The elderly woman who has been taken into custody has been identified as Sheikh Mahboob’s mother Najma Bi who has been with the group since September 2014 when Mahboob suffered burns while allegedly experimenting with explosives in a house in Bijnor in UP.

The 3-hour-long operation jointly conducted by special tactical unit of Odisha’s Special Opeation Group, Telangana police and IB officials started late midnight at Mala Road under Plant site police station area of Rourkela, said special DG of State intelligence Arun Sarangi. The Odisha DGP Kanwar Brajesh Singh said the arrested men were Mohd Khalid, Amjad Khan, Zakir Hussein and Sheikh Mahboob. Sources in the Telangana police confirmed the arrest of the missing Khandwa fugitives.

Police said the Rourkela house was one of the several “safehouses” of the group in the country. “Though they were living there for quite some time, all of them were not residing at the same time. After tracking their activities over a long period, we managed to arrest them,” said Sarangi.

As local police was not aware of their identities, the team from Telangana police helped identify the four. After the arrest, the four men have been taken to an unidentified location for interrogation by IB, Telangana police and Odisha police.

The fugitives who have been constantly on the move since 2013 were living in Rourkela for the last 4-5 months. They reportedly fired at the police during the Wednesday morning raid following which the police fired back.

The three fugitives caught on Wednesday were among six SIMI linked men who escaped from the Khandwa jail in October 2013. The leader of the group Abu Faisal was nabbed in December 2013 while two others Mohammed Aslam alias Bilal, 26, and Mohammed Aijajudd, 30, in were killed in an encounter with the Telangana police in the Nalgonda district of the state after the fugitives killed two policemen while trying to evade police checks.
The Khandwa fugitives have been linked to terror blasts that occurred on the Bangalore-Guwahati Kaziranga Express train at the Chennai Central Station on May 1, 2014 that killed a young woman; the July 10 blast in the vicinity of Dagadusheth Ganesh temple in Pune; and the December 6 blast in Rourkee near the venue of a VHP meeting in which a 12-year-old schoolboy was killed.

The gang has also been identified as being involved in a Rs 46 lakh heist at a State Bank of India branch in Chopadandi in the Karimnagar district of Telangana as well as robberies in Sundargarh in Odisha and other parts of the country. “They essentially believed in the concept of Maal e-Ghanimath or the use of illegal proceeds for religious work,’’ police sources said.

The Odisha police said the arrested men who belong to the Khandwa region of Madhya Pradesh were involved in at least 17 cases in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Guns and ammunition have been seized following the raid on the Rourkela house, police said.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rourkela-four-suspected-simi-terrorists-arrested-in-a-joint-operation/

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