He is one of the “most wanted” terrorists in the country. Whenever a terror attack takes place in the southwest region, intelligence officials religiously raid the modest house of C.A.M. Basheer in Aluva, Ernakulam district. They rate the key Lakshar-e-Tayyeba operative deadlier than the elusive Dawood Ibrahim.
Basheer, who fled to West Asia in the 1990s, is the southwest operations chief of the Lashkar. He is said to be the main fund-raiser of the terror network in the country.
After the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was banned in 1991, Basheer played a crucial role in ensuring a steady supply of funds to its terror cells in the country. A former state president of SIMI (1987), he was instrumental in placating radical elements and getting them closer to other extremist organisations. He is said to have sent money to SIMI leader Saquib Nachan for the 2003 Mumbai blasts. He is also said to have been the key remote handler of the SIMI and other fringe outfits since 1995, when he slipped out of the country.
Belonging to a middle class family, Basheer is a post-graduate diploma holder in aeronautical engineering. After finishing his studies, he joined a flight training institute in Bangalore and worked at the Mumbai international airport. He went underground in 2002 after he was accused in a case registered by the CBI.
Yahya Kammukutty, alias Yahya Khan, who was recently arrested in Bangalore, is said to be Basheer’s protégé. At his instance, Yahya made a couple of trips to Kerala to recruit operatives. He was reportedly accompanied by the Lashkar’s southern commander Mahmud Faizal Khan, alias Abu Sultan, who was later shot dead by the Maharashtra police. The duo recruited 32 men, all in the age group of 20 to 30 years.
“Basheer had the uncanny knack of attracting youth, especially educated ones,” said a special branch officer of Ernakulam. After the Mumbai train blasts, there was a move to slap a red corner notice on him, but it was reportedly shelved after the central agencies failed to get evidence against him.