Several VIPs, vital installations and pilgrim centres in Karnataka were on the hit list of three terror suspects headed by Lasker-e-Tayyeba operative Mohammed Ghouse, but their fervour to stockpile two-wheelers ahead of these attacks led to their arrest, goes Ghouse's confession.
The airports in the tech capital and Hubli and the state police headquarters here figure on this list.
Ghouse alias Riyazuddin Nasir, 20, and his associate Asadullah Abubaker, a student of ayurvedic medicine in Hubli, are in the custody of officers of the Corps of Detectives (COD) after they were produced before a local judge at Honnali, near the textile centre of Davanagere, on Monday.
The third, Mohammed Asif, 23, a final year student at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Hubli, too, joined them in the evening, with the trio headed for the state capital for detailed interrogation and narco and lie detector tests over the next couple of days.
Ghouse's mission was to recruit young, well educated youth for the LeT network in South India and this led to an association with Mohammed Asif.
Meanwhile, a top officer quoted Asif as saying that Ghouse often spoke of how he took "orders" from Taliban leader Mullah Omar and that he (Ghouse) was the head of the southern unit of LeT.
“Asif said Ghouse mentioned Mullah Omar's name frequently when he addressed this group (of educated, unemployed youth). We are not sure whether Ghouse merely dropped his (Omar's) name to impress these boys. We will know more when each of them is subjected to narco and lie detector tests in a couple of days.”
Ghouse, the police said, is familiar with the latest weapons and knows how to use them. He has confessed that he could even fire an Uzi, one of the best-known firearms in the world, from Israel, and PETN — pentaerythritol tetranitrate, also known as pentrite, one of the most powerful explosives.
Besides, he is trained to use RDX, TNT and the latest modifications of explosives. "He is willing to blow himself up. He is religious and has otherwise 'clean' habits. He is not bothered about food. He is emotionless, though he did mention his
family but said his mission was much bigger than his family," the police said.