A man wanted in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case was arrested in Aurangabad by the Maharashtra anti-terror squad (ATS) on Monday.
The arrest of Mohammed Abrar alias Babu, 32, followed an encounter with him and his two aides in Himayat Baug area of Aurangabad around 12.30pm.
The ATS arrested Mohammed Shakir, 32. Khalil Khuresi, 20, who died, was wanted in over six cases in Madhya Pradesh.
All three had been connected with the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
In Ahmedabad, deputy police commissioner (crime branch) Himanshu Shukla said Abrar was involved in the terror activities of IM, which carried out the blasts in Ahmedabad and other cities in 2008-09."We will send a team to Maharashtra to get his custody," he added.
The three men were allegedly hatching a plot to assassinate the judge of the Allahabad high court who had delivered a verdict on the Babri Masjid Blasts.
The ATS operation comes after a three-month groundwork and the arrest of six others of the gang in June 2011. ATS chief Rakesh Maria said a case of attempt to murder has been registered against both the arrested men.
The group was originally working under Dr Abu Faizal, a former resident of Mumbai, who was connected with both SIMI and the IM. Faizal’s gang robbed banks to fund terror activities.
In 2011, eight of their members were arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police. Abrar, a resident of Indore, had been arrested too, but he managed to escape.
After Faizal’s arrest in June 2011, Abrar and ex-SIMI member Akhil Khilji took over the group. Khilji is still wanted by the police.
Lately, the gang had been active in MP. They allegedly robbed the Mannapuram bank in 2010.
“Of the 12 kg gold they took, 3 kg was sold to purchase a house in Jharkhand, where they made fake passports,” said an ATS officer. There are seven other bank robbery cases against them, in one of which they had killed the bank manager.
Abrar is also wanted for the murders of two ATS constables and murder attempts on BJP activists Pramod Tiwari and Bhairov Singh Tak and a superintendent of Satna jail.