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Had IS suspects planned attack on cops?

Two held in July could have set their sights on police HQs in Aurangabad and Nanded

mumbai Updated: Aug 06, 2016 01:30 IST
Manish K Pathak
Sources in the ATS and the Maharashtra police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were trying to find out who had indoctrinated Nasir Bin Abubakr Yafai alias Chaus, 31, and Shaheed Khan, 24, to such an extent that they were willing to attack police headquarters.
Sources in the ATS and the Maharashtra police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were trying to find out who had indoctrinated Nasir Bin Abubakr Yafai alias Chaus, 31, and Shaheed Khan, 24, to such an extent that they were willing to attack police headquarters.(For representation)

Cops on the trail of ISIS sympathisers and supporters in Maharashtra claim that two men arrested from Parbhani in July had planned to attack the police headquarters in Aurangabad and Nanded to avenge the encounter killing of a 20-year-old, Khalil Khilji, in 2012.

Sources in the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Maharashtra police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were trying to find out who had indoctrinated Nasir Bin Abubakr Yafai alias Chaus, 31, and Shaheed Khan, 24, to such an extent that they were willing to attack police headquarters. The two had even planned to attack a senior police officer who had led the encounter in which Khilji was killed in Aurangabad, the sources said.

Read: 31-year old from Parbhani with links to foreign handlers of ISIS held by ATS

Was Parbhani ISIS group planning more than one strike?

The police say Khilji was part of a group that was wanted for blasts in Ahmedabad in July 2008, and had also plotted to kill judges of the Allahabad High court who had passed a verdict on the disputed Ayodhya site in October 2010. The group, which was guided by Abdus Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer, a fugitive Indian Mujahideen operative, was on the run after escaping from a prison in Madhya Pradesh and had been cornered in Aurangabad.

Police sources said that Chaus and Khan had even brought a bike from an agent of a private finance company who had allegedly conducted reconnaissance of the police headquarters with them. The agent, ATS sources said, was currently on the run.

The ATS apparently suspects a Syria-based handler, Farooque, could have indoctrinated Chaus and Khan as there are reports that at least 30 Indian men have joined the ISIS. An Indian, Shafi Armar alias Yusuf-Al-Hindi, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in Syria.

Chaus was also suspected to have been in touch with Farooque for a long time. Farooque apparently sent him a few links that helped him prepare a bomb. After the duo’s interrogation, the ATS claimed to have recovered a diagram to assemble explosives.

The duo stand accused of preparing a bomb at Chaus’ residence in Parbhani district before Ramadan to carry out blast in the Marathwada area. They apparently planned to use a car’s remote key to set off the IED (improvised explosive device).