Interrogation of four arrested suspected Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operatives has reveled that the group planned to abduct a doctor in Odisha’s Jharsuguda for ransom, police and intelligence officials said on Sunday.
The four were arrested in a joint operation by the Odisha and Telangana police from Rourkela on February 17, have confessed during interrogation that they planned to abduct a doctor from Jharsuguda but the plan was dropped after they found out the sleuths of the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of MP police, hot on their pursuit, had already landed in Jharsuguda town, they said.
After escaping from Tantya Bheel jail in MP’s Khandwa district, the SIMI operatives moved to Sambalpur and Jharsuguda in Odisha, where they spent some time and hatched plans to rob a bank. However, they were unaware that the ATS was quietly trailing them, said an official of Madhya Pradesh ATS, who was present during interrogation.
The SIMI men, including Mehboob alias Guddu, Amjad, Asalm, Aijazuddin and Zakir planned to abduct the doctor for ransom, he said.
A few days before they planned to abduct the doctor, the group spotted a constable of the MP ATS in Jharsuguda market, which forced them to shift to Rayagada district, where they stayed in dense forests for several days before Abu Faisal, head of the Khandwa module of SIMI and main accused of the 2008 Ahmadabad serial blasts, arrived with money.
In December 2013, Faisal was arrested by the MP ATS, forcing the group shift to Telangana, where two of them, Aijazauddin and Aslam were killed in a gun battle with the Telangana police in April 2015.
Mehboob alias Guddu, Amjad, Zakir and another aide Saliq decided to avenge Aijazuddin and Aslam’s killing and planned to blow up the Telangana police headquarters and kill police personnel who were involved in the shootout.
Police are looking for a man in Jharkhand who helped the SIMI operatives to get PAN cards made in the name of Sanjay Sahu and Gopal Singh for opening bank accounts in Odisha and Jharkhand.
Then four arrested SIMI operatives along with Mehboob’s mother, Najma, will be produced before a local court in Rourkela on Tuesday, police said.
Both the National Investigation Agency and the MP ATS have requested the court for transit remand of the four arrested SIMI operatives and Najma.
The four SIMI operatives arrested in Odisha recently, allegedly had links with a Pakistan militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban. The arrested SIMI operatives had sent Rs 3 lakh to the organisation and were planning to spread their network in Bangladesh, investigators said. They had also travelled frequently to Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal to build network in Bangladesh. The investigating agency has also detected International Mobile Equipment Identity of some mobile phones used by the operatives. A laptop, which was sold by the SIMI men to someone some months ago, has also been retrieved and the central forensic lab in Hyderabad was in process of restoring critical data from it, the investigators said.