Delhi Police’s Special Cell claims that it has found the power-centre that controlled both the pro-jihad faction of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Indian Mujahideen (IM).
It’s ‘international terrorist’ mafia don Dawood Ibrahim and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) who had a hand in the spate of serial blasts, carried out by the IM, all over the country. The cell says it’s virtually a replay of the Bombay blasts of 1993.
Early this year, there were reports that the Dawood Ibrahim gang had merged with the Pakistan-backed LeT.
The Dawood trail seems to be faint for now, as the command chain that the homegrown terror outfit, the IM, followed was quite complex. The IM has carried out nine serial blasts – including the recent one in New Delhi – since March 2006.
The Special Cell has identified the persons who controlled the IM – its 24-year-old operations chief Atif Ameen (killed on September 19 in Delhi), Sadiq Sheikh (arrested by the Mumbai Police crime branch on Wednesday) and another man who is still absconding.
Confirming this, Special Cell’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar told Hindustan Times: “We have been looking for Sadiq for quite some time. He was part of the three-man decision-making body of the IM that had Atif and another man who is now absconding.”
However, Special Cell sources said the IM was only a junior partner in terror. It used to take orders from another three-member body that controlled the SIMI’s pro-jihad faction.
The three controllers were LeT’s chief of India operations Abu Al Qama, Dawood Ibrahim’s point man for currency smuggling Riaz Bhatkal and mastermind of the US consulate attack in January 2002 in Kolkata, Amir Reza Khan.
Kumar confirmed, “The IM, as evidence available with us indicated, was taking orders from the three men based abroad.” The chain of command was like this – the IM leaders reported to Riaz Bhatkal, who was accountable to Amir Reza Khan, and finally, Khan reported to Qama.
Khan is said to have become a senior Lashkar operative now and is based in Pakistan, while Bhatkal flits in and out of Pakistan and Dubai.
Special Cell’s Joint commissioner of police Karnal Singh said, “the LeT facilitated the co-ordination and coming together of the IM and the radical faction of the SIMI, led by Abdus Subhan Qureshi, after the arrest of Safdar Nagori in March.”
According to Special Cell investigators, Atif was in constant touch over the phone with Qureshi and his aide Qayamuddin Kapadia.