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Police zero in on terror chief

Zainuddin Ansari, a 25-year-old computer savvy electrician from Beed, is the man the Anti Terrorism Squad wants.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 02:23 IST

Zainuddin Ansari, a 25-year-old computer savvy electrician from Beed, is the man the Anti Terrorism Squad wants. ATS investigations show that Zainuddin, a former member of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India, had built over the last two years a strong network of activists from the SIMI strongholds of Beed, Malegaon, Aurangabad and Parvani.

Sources said Zainuddin visited a Gulf country a year and half back and met Juniad, a Pakistani Lashkar-E-Tayyaba commander, who indoctrinated him into Jehad ideology.

Sources said Zainuddin left Beed early on May 8. Abdul Azim, driver of the Sumo hired by Zainuddin, said the latter asked him to drive to the Mumbai-Agra highway. After his contacts did not turn up, he then asked him to drive to the Akashwani MLA guest house behind Mantralaya. He came out of the hostel at 5.30 am and they went to Pimpalgaon, near Nashik, where a Tata Indica car was waiting for them. Meanwhile, another vehicle came with the arms consignment, which was split among the vehicles, one of which drove towards Gujarat.

Zainuddin then took Azim in the Indica and asked its three occupants to take the Sumo. Meanwhile, when the ATS team chased the Sumo, oblivious of the Indica, the occupants immediately informed Zainuddin over mobile phones. Zainuddin quickly turned back and hurried in the direction of Malegaon, dropping Azim on the way.

He drove to an associate, homeopath Mohammad Sharif Shabbir, and the arms consignment inside was quickly hidden in an electrician’s shop in Malegaon. Zainuddin quickly left Malegaon while Shabbir abandoned the Indica on the outskirts of Malegaon, ATS sources said.