In one of the biggest terrorist catches in recent times, the Indore police on Thursday picked up almost the entire leadership of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from a hideout in Indore.
<b1>Those arrested included Safdar Nagori, SIMI’s national general secretary and one of India’s most wanted terror masterminds who is believed to have planned the 2006 Mumbai train blasts that killed 187 people.
Twelve of his close associates, including chiefs of several state units, were also arrested. Police said the SIMI leadership, with close links to the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terror group, had gathered for a meeting called by Nagori.
Nagori, who has been underground since September 2002 (when SIMI was banned), is suspected to be involved in a series of terror attacks across the country.
The Maharashtra police wants him for his suspected role in plotting along with LeT operatives the 11/7 blasts and the August 25, 2003 twin blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar that killed 53 people.
Thirteen of the 11/7 blasts accused, who have since been nabbed, have said that Nagori was a part of several meetings that were held in Mumbai to execute the blasts.
A senior Intelligence Bureau official said that Nagori “was with the 13 arrested blasts’ accused, and nearly 13 other Pakistani Lashkar members who had been sent by its India chief Azam Cheema, who were involved in the blasts”.
Maharashtra anti-terror squad’s Additional Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh told HT: “One of the accused, Ehtesham Siddiqui, had also named Nagori.” He said a team would be sent to Indore get Nagori’s custody. The Hyderabad and Karnataka police also want Nagori.
In December last year, Nagori is believed to have tasked a strike team to carry out suicide attacks at tourist destinations in Goa to kill “American, Israeli and European tourists”. The team was led by LeT operative from Hyderabad Riyazuddinn Nasir.
There were also plots to attack the police headquarters in Hyderabad and two key nuclear facilities — the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad and the Kaiga nuclear complex at Karwar in Karnataka. A top Hyderabad police officer said a team would be sent to Indore seek Nagori’s custody.