Tamil Nadu police have busted a gang of suspected terrorists including its leader ‘police Fakruddin’ who carried a cash reward of Rs. 15 lakh on his head and eluded security forces of four states for twelve years.
Fakruddin and his gang are believed to be involved in several terrorist activities including the murder of BJP leaders and Hindu religious persons. The arrests came ahead of BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's proposed visit to Chennai on October 18.
While Fakruddin was arrested with two of his accomplices on Friday evening from the outskirts of Chennai, two more gang-members were nabbed by Tamil Nadu police after a 10-hour-long encounter at Puttur town of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.
Fakruddin is also suspected to have planted a pipe bomb along the route of the yatra by senior BJP leader LK Advani in 2011 in Madurai. The bomb was detected just hours before the BJP leader’s convoy was to pass.
Most recently, Fakruddin’s hand is seen in the murder of BJP’s Salem district leader V Ramesh.
Hailing from a small village in Madurai district, he is believed to have got the moniker ‘police Fakruddin’ after his first brush with terrorist activities in 2002 when he threw bombs at police personnel to free a militant Iman Ali from custody.
Within hours of nabbing Fakruddin, the Tamil Nadu police rushed to Puttur and surrounded a house where the two accomplices – Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail -- were holed up.
No sooner did the police team, including Andhra Pradesh special police personnel, surrounded the house, they encountered gunfire from inside.
The operation to flush out the two began at 4 am and ended after some 10 hours in the afternoon with their arrest. The duo was immediately bundled into waiting vehicles and driven off to Chennai. Incidentally, Malik was staying at the Puttur house along with his wife and three children.
“Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik have been taken into custody at Puttur after a ten-hour stand-off.
Malik’s wife and three children have safely come out,” Tamil Nadu DGP K Ramanujan said after the joint operation by police of the two states.
“One of our inspectors was injured early in the morning at the beginning of the raid when he was attacked by the accused before they locked themselves in,” the police official said. He added that Panna Ismail was injured in retaliatory police fire.
The gang was wanted by police in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.