'Headley-Rana might have helped IM operatives flee the country' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Headley-Rana might have helped IM operatives flee the country'

Uttar Pradesh's Anti-Terror Squad is working with National Investigation Agency to find out if David Headley and Tahawwur Rana helped top Indian Mujahideen operatives flee the country and reach Canada, reports Haidar Naqvi.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2009 19:52 IST
Haidar Naqvi

Uttar Pradesh's Anti-Terror Squad is working with National Investigation Agency to find out if David Headley and Tahawwur Rana helped top Indian Mujahideen operatives flee the country and reach Canada.

Four of the IM operatives who fled from India are from UP-one went out on his genuine passport issued to him in 2006. The rest who disappeared belonged to Mumbai and southern states.

An ATS team in Mumbai is working closely with the NIA hoping it might get leads about IM's top recruiter Mirza Shadab Baig, communication chief Dr Shahnawaz, head of Mir Qasim brigade Asadullah Akhtar and key planner Sarwar.

All of them are said to have fled the country and their location was last tracked in middle-east, Bangladesh and Nepal. In India, the sources said, about 35 IM operatives are wanted for cascading bombing across the country. At least 16 of these wanted men, mostly part of the ring that supplied explosives from Uduppi, were no longer in the country.

The ATS forging a common ground with central agencies that the IM's top brass could have been routed out of India through an established network-like the one run by Rana. The facts about Headley having been closely associated with IM top man Amir Raza Khan and Bhatkal brothers-Riyaz and Iqbal-give leverage to common thinking.

The ATS, which has examined the call details of Dr Shahnawaz's BSNL number (not giving it for security reasons), has pitched in for detail investigations into possible use of immigration services run by Rana and Headley.

"We are sure the boys we are looking are out of India, but the question is how they managed to with ease and without catching eye of intelligence agencies," said an official of ATS who didn't wish to be named. Mirza Shadab Baig, who was last tracked in Riyadh, had left the country on his genuine passport from Delhi airport.

Asadullah Akhtar and Dr Shahnawaz went out to Bangladesh and Nepal--- the locations the agencies found tracking their chats with son of a prominent cleric of Azamgarh. "Rana and Headley not only visited but sent many boys to Canada through the first world immigration services. There is every chance that Rana's firm was behind their disappearance," said the source not ruling a strong possibility of their presence in Canada.