HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Sharjah-based IM facilitator had links with gangster Abu Salem

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 21, 2014
First Published: 01:04 IST(21/3/2014) | Last Updated: 08:03 IST(21/3/2014)

For the first time, one of the two alleged facilitators of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen has been found to have links with incarcerated Mumbai gangster Abu Salem.

Sharjah-based laundry owner in UAE Faizan Azmi and Nepalese private-school owner Khurshid, identified as key alleged logistics-providers for IM’s wanted terror operatives, have come under the scanner of counter-terror officials.  

While Azmi, who allegedly is an old acquaintance of Salem, owns the Istanbul laundry located at Al Qasmiya, Khurshid runs a private school in Nepal’s Sunsari district, said a counter-terror source.

“Our investigations, and revelations of key IM operatives including Mohammed Salman alias Chotu, have revealed that both the facilitators have since September 2008 provided substantial help including shelter and odd jobs at their establishments and elsewhere to IM terror operatives on the run,” said the source.

“The Nepalese suspect, according to Salman, had hosted for eight months five key wanted IM operatives -- Salman, Dr. Shahnawaz, Abu Rashid, Bada Sajid, and Khalid -- who had fled India after the outfit orchestrated the September 2008 blasts in Delhi and two of its men died in the Batla House encounter with the Delhi police,” said the source.

Khurshid allegedly also provided them fake Nepalese passports to enable them to reach Karachi, Pakistan, for training in arms as arranged by their handlers, said the source.

The five wanted IM operatives had used fake passports to reach Sharjah where Azmi allegedly hosted them for months. “The men had met IM’s co-chief Iqbal Bhatkal and senior operative Amir Reza Khan there,” said the source.

In December 2009, Salman, Shahnawaz and Khalid allegedly went to Pakistan.  Salman was directed by IM’s wanted co-chief Riyaz Bhatkal to return to Nepal and arrange for a hideout to stash arms and explosives.

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